person with handcuffs on hands

Whether you’re looking to visit the United States on business or to explore the country as a tourist, you must apply for a visa at a consulate within your home country. However, if you have a criminal record, you may wonder how this will impact your ability to travel to the United States. The following blog explores what you must know if you have a criminal history and how it will impact your ability to apply for a United States visa. You’ll also learn why you should contact a New York immigration lawyer if you need assistance.

How Will a Criminal Record Impact My Ability to Apply for a Visa?

If you have a criminal record, it will likely be incredibly difficult for you to obtain a United States Visa, as this can pose a security risk. Generally, the immigration process is challenging for most foreign nationals, let alone those with a criminal record.

However, it is necessary to understand that not all crimes warrant immediate denial of your visa application. For example, a single drunk driving charge will not warrant ineligibility for a visa into the country. However, certain crimes make it impossible for someone to apply for a visa. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Human trafficking
  • Drug trafficking
  • Murder, rape, assault, or any crime of moral turpitude
  • Multiple criminal convictions in which your convictions add up to more than five years in prison
  • Prostitution, if committed within the last ten years
  • Money laundering
  • Terroristic involement

Can I Get a Waiver?

In some instances, you may be able to apply for a waiver if you have a criminal record. Crimes for which you can apply for a waiver include:

  • Prostitution
  • A single marijuana offense for which you had 30 grams or less
  • Multiple criminal convictions
  • A crime or moral turpitude, not including murder or torture

Generally, a waiver can be approved if you’ve turned your life around after you were convicted of prostitution, have not committed a crime in fifteen years, or have petitioned for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act. Similarly, you may be able to prove that without your entry into the United States, a relative would suffer extreme hardship.

If you have a criminal record and want to apply for a visa with a waiver, you’ll need to submit a Form I-601. Unfortunately, this can be a complicated process, so it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced attorney.

At the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis, we understand how challenging the process of obtaining a visa can be. As such, we will do everything possible to help guide you through this process for the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact our team today to learn how we can help you determine whether or not you can apply for a waiver.