Living in the United States as a non-citizen isn’t easy. International relocations are certainly not cheap or easy to complete.
Even after you enter the United States, you are constantly at risk of having your status change. Immigrants might need to leave the country if they lose their job or possibly even if they get divorced while here on a family-based visa through their spouse. They may also be vulnerable to deportation or the loss of their visa due to criminal charges.
Does an arrest mean that your right to stay in the United States is at risk?
Convictions — not mere charges — affect your immigration status
Everyone accused of a crime in the United States is innocent until proven guilty. This extends not just to citizens but to immigrants as well.
Neither an initial arrest nor the charge brought against you in court will immediately result in the loss of your visa or the risk of deportation. It is only after a conviction that those criminal allegations against you might affect your right to stay in the United States.
Only certain crimes will result in deportation
Criminal convictions can affect your immigration status in multiple ways. They might result in the loss of your job, which could affect a work-based visa. A conviction could also lead to divorce or other family issues with possible immigration consequences.
For your conviction to directly lead to deportation, it will need to be a serious offense. Crimes of moral turpitude or crimes that offend the moral sensibilities of the broader community can lead to judicial deportation.
Those accused of minor infractions may not be at risk. Understanding how criminal charges affect your immigration status can make it easier for you to respond to them appropriately.