Immigrating with a Criminal Record

When you have a criminal record, it can be difficult to work through the immigration process. Even if you only have one conviction on your record, obtaining a visa or a green card can be that much more challenging.However, you may be able to “set aside” a criminal conviction, which could give the edge you need in your pursuit of a visa or lawful permanent status.

Depending on the crime, one can apply, through the Superior Court, to set aside a conviction of guilt.

This doesn’t mean a record of the crime will disappear. Rather, should the conviction be set aside, certain rights will be restored — rights you may have lost when you pled guilty. This is because “set aside” is different that an expungement.

An expungement is when a court orders that the record of a criminal conviction be removed from your overall criminal history. Basically, record of the conviction is sealed and no longer publicly accessible. However, a set aside is your best available option in Arizona. Arizona law does not currently have a way to truly expunge a conviction.

To have a conviction set aside, you must petition the court as to why you are asking for the set aside.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to have a drunk driving, drug possession, or other criminal conviction set aside.

If the conviction involved a dangerous weapon, caused physical injury, or was of sexual nature, you may not qualify for a set aside. Keep in mind, as part of the petition, you must have met all the conditions of your sentence.

The best way to determine your eligibility is to contact Belmonte Law Firm. We can schedule a free consultation with an immigration attorney to discuss your situation and figure out your next steps.