An aggravated felony can affect your immigration status

It doesn’t matter if you’re a permanent resident of the United States, an immigrant or hold some other type of status, a felony charge is a big deal as a conviction can impact your personal, professional and financial lives.

A non-citizen of the United States faces additional concerns if charged with a felony, as it may result in deportation or the inability to enter the country in the future.

An aggravated felony is a unique category of crimes associated with immigration law. All of these acts are removable offenses, and include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Theft
  • Simple battery
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Filing a falsified or fraudulent tax return

Along with aggravated felonies, crimes of moral turpitude can also result in deportation. Examples of these crimes include:

  • Child abuse
  • Wire fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Perjury
  • Tax evasion

What are the consequences of a felony conviction?

As a foreign national, a felony conviction has the potential to alter your life, but it doesn’t always lead to deportation. What happens next depends on a variety of factors as set and reviewed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Here are some possible consequences as listed out by status:

  • Legal permanent resident: Subject to deportation and subject to multiple years in prison should the person reenter the United States without permission. A conviction can also result in a permanent ban from immigration status in the future.
  • Refugee: May be subject to deportation, regardless of circumstances in their home country.
  • Non-citizen without legal status: Undocumented immigrants are not authorized by the United States to be in the country, so any criminal offense, even those that are not a felony, can lead to deportation.
  • Non-citizen with temporary lawful status: This category includes anyone with temporary protected status or a nonimmigrant visa. Any felony can result in the loss of status and immediate deportation.

Not only are immigration laws complex, but they’re always changing. When you add these challenges to the potential consequences of an aggravated felony, it’s natural to have concerns.

If you or a loved one finds yourself in this position, learn more about your legal rights with the hope of avoiding a conviction and maintaining your status in the United States.