Seeking Refuge In the United States

When most people think about immigration, they imagine people sneaking in from other countries or trying to hide from criminal charges. What most people don't realize about immigration, however, is how difficult it is to live other places. In my native homeland, I had a difficult time feeding my kids on a shoestring budget, and I worried about safety on a daily basis. I needed an immigration attorney to make my dreams of a peaceful existence possible. I created this blog to help you to see how much of a difference the right legal counsel can make, so that you don't have to worry about the future.

Your Sponsor's Criminal History Could Affect Your Immigration Application


Someone coming to the U.S. and applying for a visa needs to have some sort of sponsor, the person or organization that will be responsible for the immigrant. In cases of employment, the employing company would essentially take on that role, and in cases of family immigration, a spouse, fiance, or family member would take on that role. One of the issues with immigration applications is that any criminal history, even minor offenses, can be difficult to get past. The effects vary depending on whether the criminal history belongs to the petitioner (the person trying to get the visa) or the sponsor. Timing and type of charges are also important.

For Spouses With Past Criminal Histories, the Effects Are Limited

If the criminal history belongs to the sponsoring spouse or family member, the petitioner may be in a much better situation than they realize. With the exception of convictions for things like crimes against children or domestic violence, a spouse or sponsor's past criminal history may have very limited effects. They wouldn't prevent the petitioner from applying; they could still prevent the application from being approved, but that's not set in stone. It's best to speak with an immigration attorney to find out if the conviction and any of its details would stop the petitioner from winning their visa.

A New Arrest and Conviction Would Change Things

A new arrest and conviction could very well change things. Assuming they have nothing to do with the specific charges mentioned previously, it will really depend on the severity and the punishment. Someone convicted of misdemeanor vandalism who was sentenced to clean it up is obviously going to face a much different situation than someone convicted of felony crimes that sees them locked up. If your sponsor is locked away, you may have no support, and that certainly could affect your application.

Convictions Are More Worrisome Than Arrests

When a petitioner fills out the application for the visa, they have to answer the question about criminal history. Petitioners should be honest, and if there are arrests that did not end up in charges or convictions, those might not be as worrisome as the petitioner thinks. Again, speaking with a family immigration lawyer is going to be the best way to address the criminal history and work around potential pitfalls.

Immigrating to the U.S. can be a difficult experience, and the presence of a criminal history on the part of the petitioner or the spouse is not the best thing to have. But it's not the end of the application, and a lawyer can help you figure out what to do. 

Reach out to a firm like Garza & Associates to find out more.


11 October 2022