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Issues in Green Card Cases

Posted by Uzo Akpele | Jun 22, 2023 | 0 Comments

My husband is an American citizen, he wants to file for me, but a few years ago he was convicted for burglary and served time in jail.  Will he be able to file for me?

Your husband will still be able to petition for your regardless of his having done time for burglary.  Criminal convictions of US citizen petitioners generally do not matter.  There is an EXCEPTION for certain offences relating to sexual abuse of minors.  Under this exception, a US citizen will not be able to petition unless the USCIS permits.  

A criminal situation which may rattle you (but will not affect your petition's validity) is where the petitioner has an unexecuted arrest warrant.  The USCIS has been known to call in the local police authorities to come and pick up a US citizen petitioner when he shows up for his interview.

So in most cases, a US citizen's burglary conviction would not affect his ability to petition for his wife, but an unexecuted arrest warrant could embarrass the parties.

My US citizen wife does not work.  She is currently on government assistance.  Can she petition for me?

Again, what is needed is a marriage with the parties intending to make a life together.  That the US citizen spouse does not work does not necessarily mean that their marriage was not entered into in good faith.  A non-working US citizen spouse does raise issues as to the ability to financially care for the non-citizen spouse (and may be a red flag for a USCIS adjudicator) but using a co-sponsor for the affidavit of support will bridge this gap.  And of course, the parties should have other evidence of the good faith of their marriage.

I was arrested and then convicted, can I still get a green card?

A conviction of a non-citizen spouse is not a good thing mostly because the USCIS definition of a conviction is different from the usual criminal law definition of a conviction.  In broad terms, an admission  by a non-citizen to the essential elements of a crime  is deemed a conviction; this includes entering a plea of nolo contendere.    

Then comes the question: of what offense the non-US citizen was convicted?   The USCIS has these two  things called “aggravated felony” and “crime involving moral turpitude”.  If a crime or infraction  falls into USCIS definition of one of those, it could make the non-citizen ineligible for adjustment of status/immigrant visa.   Our office can assist  you determine if you have a conviction and where possible, how to use a waiver to overcome inadmissibility caused by convictions.

Our office can assist you if you have any issues that could complicate your Green Card application case, Call Our Office 4042503295.  We will assist you determine a possible solution.  We are not scared of tough cases.

About the Author

Uzo Akpele

Uzo Akpele was born and raised in Nigeria. In 1986, she began studying law at The University of Nigeria, graduating in 1990. In 1991, she was admitted into the Nigeria Bar. Upon moving to the United States, she again studied law at The University of Georgia School of Law, from where she graduated in 2000.


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