Dear Berardi Immigration Law:
When I was in my early twenties, I hung around with the wrong crowd and ran into trouble with the law on a few occasions. I straightened out within a few years and today I lead a clean life. I have had absolutely no brushes with the law for 20 years and I am a devoted family man. I would like to enter the U.S. intermittently for business reasons, but the last time I tried to cross the border I was told by a CBP officer that I was inadmissible because of my past crimes. What do I do now?
Dear Confused Canadian:
Some individuals with criminal convictions may be inadmissible to the U.S. regardless of how long ago the offense(s) took place or how minor the convictions were. Because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has comprehensive access to criminal records, any individual with a criminal record runs the risk of being denied entry to the U.S., even if only for a brief visit.
The most common grounds of criminal inadmissibility result from a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude or a conviction for violating any law relating to a controlled substance. In addition, any individual convicted of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence exceeds five years of imprisonment, regardless of whether the offenses involved moral turpitude, is likewise inadmissible.
If you have been deemed inadmissible to the U.S. or you do not qualify for the juvenile record exception or petty offense exception, you still have a chance of entering the U.S. by applying for a nonimmigrant waiver of inadmissibility from the U.S. government.
In this waiver application, applicants must establish three factors to demonstrate their eligibility: 1) the risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted; 2) the seriousness of the applicant’s criminal law or immigration law violation; and 3) the nature of the applicant’s reason for seeking entry. If applicants make this showing, along with providing a host of other specialized forms and documents, they will be granted a waiver. Once approved, applicants are granted permission to temporarily enter the U.S. for business and personal reasons for a set period of time (anywhere from one to five years, depending on the situation).
Because this process and the requisite evidence for applying for these waivers can be complicated, it is highly recommended that you receive the help of an immigration attorney when pursuing a waiver of inadmissibility. The attorneys at Berardi Immigration Law have significant experience preparing these waivers and have a proven track record of success doing so. If your past crimes are creating issues at the border, please contact our attorneys today to schedule a consultation.
Berardi Immigration Law