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Criminal Inadmissibility: Crimes That Make Me Inadmissible to the U.S

The United States takes criminal background checks very seriously.  Elsewhere I discussed the Green Card Biometric Appointment.  For this page, I am going to focus on what types of previous criminal offenses may make a foreign national inadmissible into the United States, otherwise known as Criminal Inadmissibility.

Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, an intending immigrant will not be admitted into the United States, due to Criminal Inadmissibility, or granted a Green Card on the basis of a criminal record if the intending immigrant has been convicted of or admits to:

1.  Committing a Crime of Moral Turpitude – Moral turpitude is one of the most amorphous concepts in immigration law. There is no single definition of moral turpitude.  Courts have interpreted moral turpitude to mean a crime involving a certain baseness, depravity, or vileness.  A crime of moral turpitude would include such crimes as fraud, theft, housebreaking, kidnapping, robbery, murder, arson, forgery, rape or sexual assault.  Certain other crimes are not crimes of moral turpitude, for instance, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

2.  Violating Laws Related to Illegal Drugs – So, for example, possession of a certain amount of marijuana can make a person inadmissible.

3.  Multiple Convictions – Multiple criminal convictions will make a person inadmissible, regardless of the seriousness of the offenses, whether the multiple convictions were the result of the same general incident.  However, the person must have been sentenced to at least five years in prison.

4.  Drug Trafficking – Drug traffickers are inadmissible, even if there is no conviction, so long as the Consulate or immigration officer “knows or has reason to believe” that the immigrant has been involved in illegal drug trafficking.

5.  Prostitution – Anybody who intends to enter the United States to commit prostitution or who has engaged in prostitution suffers from Criminal Inadmissibility.