In New Jersey, green card applicants face a long process to reach this stage of residence in the U.S. For applicants who have a criminal record, the green card application can be harder to accomplish. Being fully honest and forthcoming about any past criminal charges of any kind is essential to make sure the process goes smoothly.
Applying for a green card with a record
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will ask about any prior criminal incidents. If the applicant lies or covers up any charges, they will be disqualified no matter how minor those charges were. There are three different categories of crime that will be disqualifying: aggravated felonies, drug crimes and acts of moral turpitude.
Aggravated felonies are murder, drug trafficking, false tax returns and sex crimes against a minor. Drug crimes are any offense related to drugs that are federally illegal in the U.S. Moral turpitude refers to murder, rape, fraud and animal abuse crimes.
If the applicant has a criminal history of any of these, they will need to file a special waiver and go through more scrutiny. One of these crimes does not make it impossible to get a green card, but it does add another layer of the process to overcome.
Making sure to fill out an application honestly
For applicants who have a criminal history of any kind, hiding it from USCIS is a recipe for dismissal of the application. There are a few categories of serious crimes that can block an application, but even they are not a guarantee of denial, so it is always better to come clean and be clear about any kind of crime that you have been charged with or investigated for in the past.