Can USCIS See Sealed Criminal Records?

If you have a criminal record, you may be wondering if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can see it. This guide explains what happens when you seal your criminal record and whether USCIS is able to view it.

Can USCIS See Sealed Criminal Records?

USCIS can see sealed criminal records. Sealing only prevents members of the general public, including employers and landlords, from seeing criminal records. USCIS can use your criminal record against you when you apply for an immigration benefit or during removal proceedings.

What is a Criminal Record?

A criminal record is a document that lists a person’s criminal history. It includes information on all arrests, convictions, and sentencing.

Related: How do I expunge my record in Illinois?

What is Sealing?

Sealing is the process of making a criminal record inaccessible to the public. Once a record is sealed, it can only be accessed by judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and others – including those that use fingerprint-based background checks.

How Could USCIS Use a Criminal Record Against You?

USCIS can use your criminal record in a number of ways. For example, they may use it to:

  • Deny you an immigration benefit
  • Place you in removal proceedings
  • Detain you
  • Deport you

Even if your criminal record has been sealed, USCIS still has access to it. If you have a criminal record and want to seal it, you should talk to your criminal record clearing attorney about your options. Some records are eligible for expungement, which clears a record completely.

Related: Is it possible to expunge convictions in Illinois?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?

If you’re tired of your criminal past coming back to bite you, we may be able to help. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.

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