Your criminal history can make you ineligible to immigrate to the United States on a family and marriage green card. Furthermore, if the person sponsoring you in the United States has a criminal history, they may be prevented from helping you. While it may be tempting not to say anything about your criminal record, if the New Jersey agency finds out, you will be barred even if the illegal activity would typically not have been a problem.
Immigrating to the U.S. with a criminal record
Part of the visa paperwork you must fill out asks about your criminal history in the country you are from and in the United States. Unless you get a waiver, you cannot immigrate to the U.S. if you have an aggravated felony which Congress has said is murder, sexual abuse of a child, drug trafficking or filing a false tax return. You can also not get a green card if you have been found guilty of a crime of moral turpitude, like rape, fraud, animal fighting, or abuse. Finally, you will need a waiver if a court or ruler has convicted you of a drug crime, even if it was 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use.
Sponsoring with a criminal history
The only time you cannot be a sponsor to someone wanting to immigrate to the United States on a marriage or family green card is if you have been convicted of offenses against a minor listed under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. These crimes include non-parental kidnapping, sexual prostitution of a minor, production or distribution of child pornography and falsely imprisoning a minor.
You must list your criminal background when applying for a family and marriage green card or sponsoring someone who wants to immigrate to the United States unless it was a minor traffic ticket. Only certain crimes will bar you from getting a visa or being able to act as a sponsor.