Immigration Myths: Criminal Convictions - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
Button 3 Button 1 Button 2 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Immigration Myths: Criminal Convictions

Posted on in Immigration
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

Chicago immigration attorneys, immigration mythsWhen an individual is convicted of a criminal offense, he or she will likely want the situation over and done with as soon as possible. However, the consequences of conviction unfortunately tend to linger. Nowhere is this more apparent than in dealing with immigration authorities, especially since myths abound about the consequences for one’s immigration status after conviction. It is imperative, however, that you do your research, and are aware of what you may potentially face if convicted.

Myth: Only a true conviction and being sentenced after a full trial counts as a conviction for immigration purposes.

False, unfortunately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines state explicitly that a “conviction,” for immigration purposes, is defined as a “formal judgment of guilt entered by a jury.” However, there are other outcomes that count as a formal judgment of guilt without going through a trial—for example, a judge finding the suspect guilty (instead of a jury), a suspect pleading nolo contendere (“no contest”) or otherwise confessing.

The only ways that a criminal charge will essentially disappear for immigration purposes are threefold: it must be dismissed (ended by the court), stricken (removed from the docket), or ‘nolle prossed’, which is essentially a court exercising its discretion and deciding not to prosecute. If none of these occur in your case, you almost certainly have a conviction on your record that may affect your immigration status.

Myth: If you have a conviction expunged, it disappears as if it never happened, and immigration officials need not be told about it.

False. Even if you have a conviction expunged (struck off your record), traces remain in certain places. For example, if you are convicted of breaking an Illinois law, you will likely still have fingerprints in a federal database such as at the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), depending on the nature of the crime. If an immigration official sees this, he or she will question any statement that you have never been convicted of anything, and may wind up denying your application on fraud grounds.

The best course of action for those with expunged convictions is to obtain records, of both the expungement proceeding and the underlying criminal trial or plea. Being able to show court records to an immigration official will help to verify that the expungement actually occurred.

Myth: Any criminal conviction immediately torpedoes your chance to obtain a Visa, Citizenship, or Lawful Permanent Resident (lpr) Status.

False. USCIS officials will examine the nature of the offense(s), not how many someone has. It is, however, important not to simply assume everything will sort itself out—you must take affirmative steps to be honest and to explain why your criminal missteps should not disqualify you from obtaining your visa or immigrant status.

The only situation in which one single conviction is an automatic bar to obtaining status is if that conviction is for an act deemed to be an aggravated felony, and you have been previously removed due to the conviction. If this is the case, you will be permanently inadmissible to the United States. Aggravated felonies are crimes that have a component of assault (physical, sexual or otherwise) and/or deceit (such as fraud or embezzlement), and if possible, should be avoided via plea.

Seek Professional Legal Guidance

If you are an immigrant and have committed a crime, achieving the results you want on your own can be difficult. The help of an experienced immigration lawyer can be invaluable. The skilled Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC know that mistakes happen, and that you should not have your life put on hold for what may be one error in judgment made years ago. Call us today or contact us via our website to schedule your initial consultation today.


Latest Blog Posts


  • DuPage County Immigration Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyer
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers
  • Better Business Bureau

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from four offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted