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Criminal Record? You may be inadmissible to the United States.

Published On: November 10, 2013

How to determine if you are inadmissible to the U.S.

Inadmissible to the United States?

Inadmissible to the United States?

As a general rule, you are inadmissible to the United States if you have the following:

  • two or more summary offences
  • one or more indictable offences
  • anything drug related

If you are inadmissible (ie. not allowed entry due to your criminal record), you must apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility for legal entry to the United States.

Non-Excludable Offences which are ignored when determining whether you are inadmissible

When determining inadmissibility and applying the above rules regarding inadmissibility, you can ignore the following offences:

  • driving-related offences
  • crimes of violence where you can prove there was no intent to cause harm (ie. common assault)
  • crimes that are not in relation to an excludable offence (ie. break and enter to commit common assault and yes, even impaired driving causing death as the element of intent to harm is missing)
  • youth offences wherein the youth was NOT tried as an adult AND if tried as an adult the offence is not felony drugs or felony violence.

Categories of Inadmissible Offences

There are many classifications regarding inadmissibility.  I will only mention the big ones as they relate to the most common criminal offences.  They include:

  • Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
  • Felony Violence (ie. intent to cause harm, including sexual assault)
  • Drug Offences

Exception Rule to Inadmissibility

There is an exception rule that states if you have only one excludable offence and it was tried summarily, then you will be exempt from inadmissibility, meaning the conviction will be ignored.  Below t you will see an excerpt from the Immigration and Nationality Act which discusses the exception rule.  The exception rule applies primarily to CIMTs or Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, but there may be exceptions. This means the exception rule does NOT apply to drug offences (always) and it does NOT apply to most felony violence offences where intent to harm is evident, including sexual assault.

Determining Potential Sentence

The exception rule states in loose terms that if you have a CIMT and the potential sentence does not exceed one year and you were not sentenced to more than 6 months in jail, you are not inadmissible.  To check out your potential sentence, please check out the following link:  Criminal Offence Penalty Chart


The above is general information and may not apply to your specific situation.  Laws also change from time to time.   For more information on inadmissibility as it relates to your specific situation, please contact us.[TBS_BUTTON color=”info” style=”text-decoration:none; color: white; margin: 0 auto; width: 100%;” link=”/contact-us”]Click Here to Contact Us[/TBS_BUTTON]

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