In the pursuit of the American dream, many individuals seek to obtain a Green Card, granting them lawful permanent residency in the United States. However, for some, past criminal convictions can pose significant obstacles on this path. This essay explores the various avenues available for overcoming criminal inadmissibility and obtaining a waiver for Green Card seekers. As an experienced immigration and criminal defense attorney in New York and New Jersey, I will provide clear definitions, explanations, and insights into this complex legal process.

Understanding Criminal Inadmissibility

Before delving into the waivers, it’s crucial to comprehend what criminal inadmissibility entails. In the realm of immigration law, individuals can be deemed inadmissible to the United States due to certain criminal convictions. These convictions may include crimes of moral turpitude, drug offenses, aggravated felonies, and more.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude involve acts that are inherently dishonest or morally reprehensible. Examples include fraud, theft, and certain forms of assault.

Crimes of moral turpitude are typically acts of deceit or immorality that have significant repercussions on society. However, one area that is often overlooked when discussing crimes of moral turpitude is the impact on victims’ mental and emotional well-being. Being a victim of fraud or theft can leave lasting scars, resulting in mistrust, anxiety, and profound feelings of violation.

Aggravated Felonies

Aggravated felonies encompass a wide range of offenses, from drug trafficking to violent crimes. Conviction of an aggravated felony can result in severe immigration consequences.

Types of Relief from Deportation

Cancellation of Removal

Cancellation of removal is an option for individuals facing deportation due to criminal inadmissibility. To qualify, one must meet specific criteria, including continuous presence in the U.S. for a certain period and demonstrating good moral character.

212(h) Waiver

The 212(h) waiver provides relief for certain criminal convictions. To be eligible, an applicant must establish that their removal would cause extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, such as a spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

U Visa and VAWA

Victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence and human trafficking, may be eligible for U visas or relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These options are available to victims who cooperate with law enforcement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can any criminal conviction result in inadmissibility?
A: Not all criminal convictions lead to inadmissibility. It depends on the type of crime and the specific circumstances.

Q: How long does the Green Card waiver process typically take?
A: The processing time for Green Card waivers varies but can take several months to over a year.

Q: Can I apply for a waiver after being placed in removal proceedings?
A: Yes, it is possible to apply for a waiver even if you are in removal proceedings, but it is advisable to consult with an attorney promptly.


Navigating the complexities of criminal inadmissibility and obtaining a waiver for Green Card seekers can be daunting. However, with the right legal guidance and understanding of the available options, individuals can overcome these challenges and pursue their dreams in the United States. For more information and expert assistance, please visit Criminal Immigration Lawyer.

In conclusion, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who can assess your specific situation and guide you through the appropriate legal processes. Remember that each case is unique, and the outcome depends on various factors, so seeking professional assistance is paramount in achieving success in your immigration journey.

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