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Characteristics of Waivers for Crimes

If a foreign national has been convicted of a crime, that conviction may prevent them from being allowed to immigrate to the United States by obtaining a green card. In those cases, it may be possible to obtain a waiver, causing your conviction to be disregarded, in very specific circumstances.

First, there are requirements concerning the crime committed. Types of crimes which may be eligible for a waiver include:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude. Exactly what crimes fall into this category is sometimes a matter of interpretation. Moral turpitude means that these crimes are particularly wicked or abhorrent to society. They include deliberate crimes against property, against governmental authority, against persons or involving family relationships or sexual morality.
  • Many petty convictions that when taken together add up to a sentence of 5 years or more of jail time.
  • Prostitution or commercialized vice.
  • A single conviction for 30 grams or less of marijuana. Any drug offenses beyond this are not eligible for a waiver.
  • Criminal activity for which immunity from prosecution was granted (e.g., in exchange for testimony).
  • Crimes involving money laundering, drugs, export violations, national security, murder, attempted murder or torture are not eligible for the waiver.

There are also requirements for the applicant.

  • The foreign national’s crimes must be related only to prostitution or they must have occurred more than 15 years ago. However, even if neither of these can be established, waivers may still be granted to the immediate family members of US citizens or legal residents if they can prove that their denial of entry would cause extreme hardship due to the separation of the family. Battered spouses and children of US citizens and legal residents are also eligible.
  • The foreign national must prove that their admission is not contrary to national security or safety and that they have been successfully rehabilitated.

When all the necessary requirements are met, the officer that decides a specific case still has discretionary privilege to deny the case, making decisions in these cases somewhat difficult to predict.

Our Services

If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, contact the offices of Eaton and Associates today for a free consultation. If your criminal background makes you ineligible for admission, we will help you determine whether or not you may be eligible for a waiver, or what requirements need to be met in order for you to become eligible. Put our experience and expertise to work for you.

We have a track record of helping hundreds of individuals like yourself migrate to the United States. Contact us today to discuss your specific circumstances, and we will assist you in every way possible.