Hello, I’m Vaughan de Kirby, and today we’re going to talk about what can be a sensitive subject, and that is the effect of a criminal record on your EB-5 application. Before I begin my very brief explanation of the effect of a criminal record on your EB-5 application, I want to urge you to make certain that you don’t make a decision on this without the careful council of your immigration attorney.
Now there are two sort of categories. Number one is what’s called a “crime of moral turpitude.” This is a crime, which is, in our society, considered really bad, vile, debase; an evil crime. Murder, kidnapping, intentional fraud, or even spousal abuse can fall into this category.
The other category that you’ll hear about is called an aggravated felony. Now an aggravated felony is a criminal conviction and a jail sentence of more than one year.
Now, there are misdemeanors that can fall into this category and you’ll need to be very careful. One question we frequently have is the effect of a DUI, a driving under the influence charge. It’s important to understand that one DUI will not create immigration problems; however, if there are multiple DUIs, this can create a problem, and certainly if you see a drug charge, that can create a problem, because it falls into that earlier category, moral turpitude.
Now that you have this little bit of information, what should you do with it? Well number one, you should know that there are waivers available. In other words, if you have a conviction, you can apply for a waiver with USCIS. Now the waiver must demonstrate extreme hardship and that’s a definition that you will need to speak with an attorney about.
Now again I hope this brief explanation is helpful to you, and do sit down with your attorney if for any reason in your past you have a criminal conviction. Don’t ever find yourself in a position thinking it’s a good idea not to discuss it with your attorney. Your attorney and your discussions with your attorney are what are called “privileged.” In other words, your attorney cannot discuss them with anyone nor, generally speaking, can anyone force that attorney to give up that information. So be honest and straightforward with your attorney, and your attorney will be able to help you.
I hope this brief presentation on criminal charges was helpful.