Criminal Charges & Immigration: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I was arrested by the police, am I going to have trouble with immigration?

In general, any criminal charge may have a negative impact on your immigration status. Criminal convictions may cause the Immigration Service (USCIS) to deny an application, to start deportation proceedings, or to detain or imprison an individual. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are facing criminal charges you should have your case reviewed by an immigration lawyer as well as a criminal attorney.

There are two types of criminal charges that are important: “aggravated felonies” and “crimes of moral turpitude”. Aggravated felonies are serious offenses involving theft, drugs, and acts of violence.

Crimes of moral turpitude are those involving an act of moral deficiency, for example shoplifting, fraud, assault and battery with a weapon.

Any conviction for an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude can result in deportation or exclusion (denied entry into the U.S.). In addition, a conviction for any crime may result in a denial of any application at the discretion of the Immigration Service.

A conviction is any admission of responsibility for a criminal charge made in court, even if it is not called a guilty plea. Generally, if you have been ordered to pay a fine or placed on probation you have admitted responsibility.


The information contained in this document is general in nature and subject to change at any point in time. As such, it may not necessarily apply to all situations. Therefore, under no circumstance it should be construed as legal advice. Please ensure that you consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation before starting a legal process.

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