Many immigrants to the United States have a criminal record. A criminal record may include an arrest with no charges; charges that were filed, but later dismissed; charges filed that resulted in a conviction; a conviction that was dismissed through a diversion program. If you are trying to immigrate to the United States and you have ever been arrested, cited, charged, or convicted of a crime, then the US government wants documented information about the incident.
The first step in obtaining your criminal record for your immigration application is to do a search of your record based upon your fingerprints. This can be done locally through your state or on a federal level through the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The immigration attorneys at Vanderwall Immigration will take your fingerprints securely in our office, without having to visit a local police station. Once your fingerprints are taken, we send them to the FBI for processing. Within one to two weeks, we obtain a printout of all police incidents where you were fingerprinted.
Once the FBI report is obtained, you must then contact each police department and courthouse listed in the report and request certified copies of the incident. The FBI report is helpful because it will often include the date, location, description, and case number of the incident. US immigration officials want to see the police report, the charging document, the plea petition, and the judgment for each incident. All of this paperwork must be certified to be a true and complete copy from the issuing authority. The immigration attorneys at Vanderwall Immigration can contact the police departments and courthouses listed on your FBI report on your behalf to receive a certified copy of your records to present to immigration.
Although it is not required, it is very helpful for you to also submit proof of completion of any sentence, including diversion, probation, community service. You also want to submit proof of paying off any fines and fees that you may owe.
In addition to evidence of completion, it is also advisable to submit evidence of your rehabilitation and your good character. For example, if you were convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it is smart to include proof that you have attended and that you continue to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, proof that you volunteer at your local soup kitchen, proof of employment or education, and a personalized statement from you regarding how you have changed your life because of what you learned by the incident.
If you have any criminal record, it is advisable to find an immigration attorney to help you with any immigration application. The immigration attorneys at Vanderwall Immigration can help you obtain your fingerprints, your FBI report, and certified copies of your criminal records. They can also advise you on what other supporting documents will be helpful to include in your immigration application. Call us today at 503-206-8414 for an immigration consultation.