Can I Petition for a Fiance if I Have a Criminal Record?

11 Jun 2015

We often get asked this question and it’s certainly a good one to ask if you’ve fallen in love with an alien you intend to bring over to the US. There’s no single answer that can answer that question for everyone, so we’ll go into the basics of what is required by the government and how it might affect various situations.

When you’re answering the questionnaire our software uses to fill out the paperwork, you’ll notice questions asking if you’ve had any convictions or court martials for certain crimes. You must answer truthfully to be within the law. There is a chance that if you answer “yes” your petition could be denied. It all depends on the crime, and the USCIS agent reviewing your case. Certain crimes won’t make a difference, while others might make it nearly impossible to be approved.

The government’s position is to protect both you and the alien.

It may seem unfair to you, and depending on your circumstances, it may be. But try to think of it from the perspective of the agent. It’s their job to catch things like drug traffickers, human traffickers and other potential abusive or criminal situations from occurring.

The last thing an agent wants is to be the ‘guy’ who approved a petition for an alien who comes over only to be abused in some way by a violent predator.

Be honest and disclose what’s asked

If you have any violent criminal history such as sexual assault, domestic violence, or substance abuse, you must disclose full disclosure in your petition, including an explanation and court records.

Even if it’s “sealed”!

You may think your record has been cleared or your file sealed, but you must still disclose details of any such cases. You may be not only denied but have legal consequences if you aren’t honest up front.

TIP: Don’t hide these details from your fiance either! Chances are, your fiance will be notified by the USCIS and you don’t want to have that be the first time they hear about it.

Explain your side of things

Just because you got in a bar fight 20 years ago doesn’t mean you’re going to beat up your wife. Circumstances like this are common, and there’s an opportunity to give an explanation of what happened. Depending on the circumstances, you may lower your chances for denial.

If your crime is more serious or kind of indefensible, you may want to contact an attorney for advice.

fiance visa with a criminal record

International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)

IMBRA was signed into law in 2005 in an effort to prevent domestic violence against foreign fiances. IMBRA requires the fiance to be handed out a pamphlet on domestic violence. It also requires you, the US citizen petitioner, to disclose these types of convictions.

Note: If you met your fiance on an online dating site (which many of our customers do), you may need a written statement explaining that the site is a dating site, and not a marriage broker.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act, passed in 2006, also states that if you were involved in a sex crime that involved a child, you are immediately ineligible for petitioning for your fiance or spouse.

If you misrepresent yourself or hide any convictions, you will be “subject to a fine or imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or both, in addition to other possible penalties that may be imposed under federal or state law. ” -(Sections 833(d)(3)(C)), IMBRA.

Give us a call to discuss what your concerns are and we’ll do our best to help.

Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

10 Thoughts on “Can I Petition for a Fiance if I Have a Criminal Record?

  1. Wow! Thanks for the great post! I have been worrying about this and i was surprised after i read your blog. I am glad you all have already looked in to solving problems like this.

  2. I’m very impressed with your site, RapidVisa… Thank You for your attention to detail & clear communications to help U.S. citizens petition for our foreign family members! I WILL sign-up for your service.

    May I ask you to clarify a point regards this criminal record topic (specifically with the 2006 Adam Walsh Act)…?
    Please clarify intension of terms: “involved” with a sex crime, “charged”, and convictions. A conviction is straightforward… it means convicted, found guilty. In that case the Federal Act is clear: automatically ineligible for visa petition; only Homeland Security may review the request & potentially allow the petition.

    What if at one time a person was CHARGED with a nasty list of sex crimes, then soon after in court the truth revealed that ALL charges were false, therefore dismissed, and the case was dropped? The reality is those charges still appear on an FBI background check!
    Does THAT make a family visa petition ineligible or deniable??

    Again, THANKS for experienced feedback!

  3. When I was 18, I lived with a woman that was 3 years older than I. We eventually had a falling out (over a tattoo)). She wanted to move out but was financially unable to. One day we got into an argument. She was famous for taking off out the door and never resolving the issues. So this argument when she went to leave, I stepped in front of the door and bluntly stated, “Enough is enough! I want you out and you have a week to move!” She left and I eventually went to work that evening. To my surprise, my manager came up to me and said, “The police are here to see you”. Knowing I hadn’t done anything, I thought something bad had happened. Upon meeting the cop, He asked my name, then stated I was under arrest for rape! My response was, “Of who??”. Then he stated my girlfriend’s name and I said, “My girlfriend? There must be a mistake??” To make a long story short, I was released 3 days later on my own recognizance. I immediately started looking for her and she contacted me and said “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know this would happen”. She eventually told her aunt that it had never happened and it was revealed to the prosecutor. The two rape charges were “dismissed on District Attorney’s motion”. Then “Information amended in open court to charge a third count, a misdemeanor.” which was misdemeanor false imprisonment (236PC). Because I had never touched her and she “felt threatened” it was a misdemeanor and not a felony. I was 18 at the time and now I’m 49. Would this preclude my approval for a K1 visa?

  4. I also have a question about past alleged criminal record. something happened over 30 years ago, and I still don’t know what the decision of the court was. I now live in another state, but do know that when fingerprinted, my FBI check comes back with the alleged crime. How should I resolve this? Contact the court?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. I got convicted back in 1998 for a drug charge, I did 3 1/2 years in a federal prison.. I’m currently employed for the past 14 years as a Sales Executive I have a yearly in is between 100k to 150k per year, will they take that in consideration when I’m applying for a finacee visa, or I will have a difficult time to have my finacee visa approve? If so is there any other solution that I can do? Waiting for your reply..
    Ben salud

  6. I submitted my application for aos. My husband has a criminal record for an incident in 2007. The determination of the case was nolle. Can this be a problem the day of the interview?

  7. I was convicted of domestic violence in 1998. I’ve long since completed all court appointed requirements with no other convictions. Will this disqualify me from a K1 Visa?

Leave a comment

Blog Categories

Blog Archives

Blog Archives

a-ratingCustomer Reviewsnevada-state-seal