Expungement and Immigration

Could having a criminal history affect your immigration case? This guide explains what you need to tell the U.S. government and how having prior convictions could affect your eligibility for immigration benefits.

If you get your criminal record expunged, will it affect your immigration case? This guide explains the link between expungement and immigration so you know what you’re facing if you’re not a natural born or naturalized U.S. citizen.

Expungement and Immigration

United States immigration law requires you to disclose any arrests you’ve ever had when you apply for immigration benefits. That includes any arrests you had when you were a juvenile.

It also includes any arrests or convictions that you expunged or sealed from your criminal record.

That means even if your record is clear, you’re still supposed to tell USCIS about your criminal history – and if you’re caught lying about your history, your petition for immigration benefits could be denied. You could also be ordered to leave the United States.

Related: Can you seal only part of your criminal record?

However, if you’re already a naturalized U.S. citizen, USCIS will never look at your immigration file again… unless, of course, you commit a crime that makes you deportable from the U.S. – and contrary to popular belief, naturalized citizens may still be removed from the country. It’s rare, but it does happen in a process called denaturalization.

Should You Expunge Your Record if You’re an Immigrant?

If you have a criminal record – regardless of your circumstances – you should talk to an Illinois expungement attorney about your situation. Your attorney will be able to give you the guidance you need to help you decide whether expungement or sealing is the right choice for you. Your lawyer can also tell you how criminal record clearing may affect your immigration case.

Related: Do you have a criminal record if you were found not guilty in court?

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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