Most of our readers are aware a criminal conviction has the potential to render a foreign national ineligible for a visa or for lawful admission to the United States. Our friends here in the Columbus, Ohio and Troy, Michigan communities have no doubt been told a criminal conviction could be a deal-breaker for their immigration plans.
But there is an exception to that rule we would like to talk about here. It is called the Petty Offense Exception.
What is the law regarding criminal conviction? Any foreign national who is convicted of, or admits to having committed, a crime of moral turpitude is considered inadmissible.
It is important to keep in mind that for these purposes there is no difference between admission of guilt and conviction. If a foreign national admits to committing a crime the Department of Homeland Security will treat this exactly the same way it would a criminal conviction. Awareness of the rule and legal counsel can be particularly critical in this situation.
What is moral turpitude? Moral turpitude is a legal concept used in the U.S. In criminal law. It refers to any conduct that is considered by the community to be contrary to its standards of justice. Examples are robbery, rape and solicitation by prostitution.