If You’re Charged With a Crime, Will You Lose Your Green Card?

Becoming a permanent resident of the United States comes with many benefits. As a legal resident, you are given the opportunity to live and work in any state, and you can travel in and out of the country without issues. You are also permitted to petition USCIS on behalf of certain immediate family members who wish to get their green card, too. But there are some mistakes you could make that have serious consequences. For example, if you’re charged with a crime, you may be wondering if you can automatically lose your green card.

A Charge vs. a Conviction

Technically, just being charged with a crime will not end in revocation of your green card. If, however, you’re convicted, you could have a problem. Depending on the seriousness of your crime, USCIS can decide to put you into removal status (also known as deportation). The chances of this happening are more likely if you are convicted of an especially egregious act, such as:

  • Murder;
  • Sexual assault or sex trafficking;
  • Drug possession or possession with intent to sell;
  • Domestic violence; or
  • Any aggravated felony.

You can also face removal if you committed what is known as a “crime of moral turpitude” within the first five years after you legally entered the country. This essentially means the crime is considered immoral, and can include acts such as molestation or dogfighting.

The Immigration and Nationality Act contains more in-depth information about what crimes could get you removed from the U.S.

Denial of Your Visa Application

A criminal conviction can also hurt your chances of getting a green card in the first place. USCIS can decide to reject your application if you have a criminal record in your home country. Generally, if the crimes listed on your record are similar to an aggravated felony or crime of moral turpitude in the U.S., you may not be eligible for a green card.

Talk to an Immigration Attorney

As a legal permanent resident of the United States, you have rights. If you’ve been charged with a crime and you’re worried that it could lead to a conviction and possible loss of your green card, you may want to speak to an immigration attorney right away.

The attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC can review the charges against you and determine how serious they may seem to USCIS. Let us help fight for your right to remain living and working in the United States.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding If You’re Charged with a Crime, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.