You’ve been traveling and residing in the U.S. on a temporary basis for some time. The country offers you a safe place to stay, and you can also see numerous potential opportunities that you would like to unlock. To achieve your goals, you’re going to need to obtain permanent residency, which is what a green card can do for you.
With that being said, a green card is not guaranteed. There are certain requirements that you’ll need to meet as well as obstacles that you may have to overcome. If you have a criminal record, you will have to share this information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Will having a record prevent you from obtaining a green card altogether?
The nature of the offense
To be eligible for permanent residency in the U.S., you must be able to show that you are of good moral character. Despite common stereotypes surrounding criminal offenses, it is not as straightforward as labeling everyone who has a criminal record as not being of good moral character. For instance, there are some offenses that can be committed without any criminal intent whatsoever. These offenses are often referred to as strict liability offenses. For example, when you were younger, your friend may have asked you to hold onto something for them, which subsequently turned out to be illegal. If you genuinely didn’t know this, then you had no intent of committing an offense.
Crimes of moral turpitude
You may still be eligible for a green card if the offenses on your record are minor. Crimes of moral turpitude are a different matter. These are crimes of the most serious nature. Murder is probably the most notable type of crime of moral turpitude. A conviction of this magnitude will likely jeopardize any attempt to obtain permanent residency via a green card.
A minor offense or mistake of your youth should not be held against you forever. When applying for a green card, be sure to seek legal guidance so that you are aware of all of your options.