What Crimes Can Make Me Inadmissible?

Below is a list of crimes that will make you inadmissible to the United States. This list is by no means complete. Note: not all of these crimes require an actual conviction in court to make the applicant inadmissible.

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude. This includes any attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime. It excludes crimes committed when the person was under the age of 18 years, so long as the person was released from jail more than five years before applying for a visa or other immigration benefit. It also excludes crimes for which the maximum penalty did not exceed one year in prison and the person was not, in fact, sentenced to more than six months in prison. See the more complete list of crimes of moral turpitude below.
  • Controlled Substances: A controlled substance violation according to the laws and regulations of any country. This includes trafficking and any conspiracy to commit such a crime. This includes a single offense of simple possession for a small amount of THC residue or for “drug paraphernalia.” It also includes the spouse, son, or daughter of the inadmissible applicant if that person has, within the last five years, received any financial or other benefit from the illicit activities, and knew or reasonably should have known where the money or benefit came from. No actual conviction is required to trigger this inadmissibility.
  • Convictions for two or more crimes for which the prison sentences totaled at least five years. It does not matter whether the convictions came from a single trial or whether or not the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct
  • Prostitution or commercialized vice
  • A serious criminal activity for which immunity from prosecution has been received
  • Human trafficking offenses
  • Almost anything that has to do with money laundering
  • Do not even attempt to enter the U.S. if you have been previously deported without a proper visa. This is considered a serious felony under U.S. law and can result in extended jail time

What Are Crimes of Moral Turpitude?

According to the legal definition, crimes of moral turpitude relate to conduct that is inherently "base, vile, or depraved, contrary to social standards of morality and done with a reckless, malicious, or evil intent". This somewhat archaic definition covers a large spectrum of offences from common assault to drug offences, but generally relates to the following crimes:

  • Passing Bad Checks
  • Assault Causing Bodily Harm or With Intent to Cause Harm
  • Assault with a Weapon
  • Assault with intent to cause bodily harm
  • Aggravated Assault. “Aggravated felony” is even worse, though these also have a very loose definition, therefore the offences can change over time. However, there is absolutely no relief, and anyone deported or excluded for this reason cannot ever enter the US.
  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Trespass with Intent to Commit a CIMT
  • Endangerment and Actual Injury
  • Child Abuse in some cases
  • Benefitting from illicit drug trafficking.
  • Prostitution and commercialized vice.
  • Involvement in serious criminal activity, where the person has asserted immunity from prosecution, departed the United States as a result, and not subsequently submitted to the jurisdiction of the relevant U.S. court.
  • Human trafficking, whether inside or outside the United States.
  • Laundering or aiding or abetting monetary instruments.

Crimes That May Not Result in Denied Entry to the US

Not all crimes will result in being denied entry to the U.S.

  • Crimes that are not considered moral turpitude include where the individual has committed only one crime of moral turpitude, and:
  • the crime was committed when the individual was under 18 years of age and the crime was committed more than five years ago
  • the crime did not exceed one year of imprisonment
  • if the individual was convicted of the crime, but the individual was not sentenced to imprisonment for a term greater than six months
  • Offences like fail to appear, causing a disturbance, common assault and impaired driving are not ordinarily considered in determining your admissibility to the country. In addition, multiple convictions involving crimes which are NOT classified as crimes involving moral turpitude ordinarily do not block your entry.
  • The U.S. does not deny entry to persons with a conviction for “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI / DWI) despite how seriously Canada takes this type of offense. However, if there are multiple convictions for this and or other misdemeanors, you could be denied entry.

Why Legal Help can Benefit your Case

Whenever someone is denied entry at the border, the individual is not only unable to enter the U.S. but will be expected to immediately return to their place of origin. It is therefore important to carefully investigate your background to determine if, despite whether you have committed a crime, you may still be able to enter the U.S.

Why Hire Us to Help You With Your Denied Entry Case?

For over 15 years, we have helped countless individuals who thought they had no hope in entering the States due to a refused entry with their cases. Our experience with immigration law has allowed us to help individuals enter the U.S., who otherwise would have not had the opportunity.

Getting started is easy. All you need to do is fill out our free eligibility online assessment form here and then one of our immigration professionals will get back to you with your results within one business day.

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  • The Canadian Bar Association
  • The American Bar Association