Criminal background checks have always been a part of every immigrant’s acceptance into the United States- whether at consulates or inside the US, extending or changing statuses. Criminal History information is required and is an important aspect of one’s Immigration journey. The immigrant must disclose all criminal records he or she might have had, including traffic violations and misdemeanors. Many times, the immigration forms solicit such information by direct questions and sometimes, though there are no questions asked, there is a request for evidence issued pertaining to criminal history.
An example from one request of evidence sent to us, when the client extended his H1B status is below:
Disposition of charges: Law enforcement records show that the beneficiary was arrested and charged with the following crime(s):
With one count of theft __________, ______ on dd/mm/yyyy.
If there are other arrests not listed above, provide the additional charge(s) and date(s).
For all arrests, submit copies of court documents showing the disposition. Provide the relevant excerpts of law from each jurisdiction where the arrest took place showing the maximum possible penalty for each arrest/charge.
This was issued to the client even though the forms submitted by him/her did not include any questions related to criminal records.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is tasked with processing and administering immigration services and benefits. In carrying out these tasks, the USCIS must also work to protect the United States’ borders and national security. One way it does this is by checking the criminal history of applicants who desire citizenship or permanent residency status, employment-based visas, as well those who want entry into the United States.
As elaborated on the USCIS website, USCIS investigates the background of the applicant upon his or her filing. The investigation consists of certain criminal background and security checks. The background and security checks include collecting fingerprints (when biometrics are involved) and requesting a “name check” from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). In addition, USCIS conducts other inter-agency criminal background and security checks on all applicants for naturalization. The background and security checks apply to most applicants and must be conducted and completed before the applicant is approved for the requested status or benefit.
The immigrant, therefore should always be aware that such checks will be carried out by the USCIS irrespective of what forms or documents, the immigrant submits to the USCIS. If possible, please be pro-active and submit certified copies of charges and dispositions with your requests and petitions.
This article aims to provide new information. This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).