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Can A Felony Affect My Chances Of Getting A Green Card?



Applying for a green card can be a stressful procedure, especially if you have been charged or convicted of a felony during your time in the United States. Unfortunately, a recent felony conviction is one of the most common reasons for denial of citizenship. It may even be grounds for deportation. The good news is that this is not necessarily the case if you have only been charged, not convicted, of a felony. If you have been charged with a felony and are in the process of trying to apply for a green card, be sure to share that information with a qualified attorney. Your lawyer will help you develop a defense that makes the most sense for you and will take your desire to become a United States citizen into account.

Recent Vs. Long-Ago Felony Convictions

If you were recently convicted of a felony, you will be more likely to have your green card denied than if you received it a long time ago. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the criteria for being awarded a green card include demonstrating good moral character for 3-5 years prior to the application. Additionally, if you are convicted of an aggravated felony, you will be permanently barred from receiving a green card. But if you received a relatively minor felony up to 10 or more years in the past, you may be able to get your green card.

What Constitutes An Aggravated Felony?

Certain crimes will permanently affect your chances of getting a green card. These crimes include but are not limited to:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Drug, firearm or sex trafficking
  • Fraud or money laundering exceeding $10,000
  • Kidnapping
  • Theft or burglary with at least one year imprisonment
  • Terrorism
  • Treason
  • Passport forgery
  • Conspiracy to commit an aggravated felony

If you are in the country illegally, being convicted of these felonies will result in immediate deportation. If you have a visa, these felonies will still likely result in the revocation or your visa and permanent ban on becoming a United States citizen.

A Charge Is Not A Conviction

Keep in mind that even non-citizens are innocent until proven guilty in the United States. If you have been charged with a felony and the charges are dropped, you will still be able to receive a green card. Contact an immigration lawyer if you have any further concerns about your green card situation or fill out the form above.