You know the United States takes admitting people into their country, even for short visits, very seriously when one presidential candidate talks about building a wall around the country to help keep undesirables out.
Indeed, there are many reasons why you might be not allowed into the U.S.
Some of the most common include:
- Having a communicable disease.
- Having a criminal record for a “crime of moral turpitude” (more on this later) if you are 18 or older.
- Having been convicted of possessing or trafficking drugs.
- Having been involved in terrorism or terrorist groups.
- Having been involved in money laundering.
- Having been removed or deported from the U.S. in the past.
- Having overstayed a period of admission to the U.S. in the past.
- Not having enough money to travel due to limited financial resources.
What is a “Crime of Moral Turpitude”
A “crime of moral turpitude” is reason enough to keep you out of the U.S., but what is it? To be honest, this term is quite vague. It means “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals.” What kind of conduct and what community standards is usually up to the discretion of the border officer.
Therefore, a “crime of moral turpitude” can cover a lot of things, but can also exclude a few things as well. There are a number of crimes that can be considered to be “crimes of moral turpitude” including, but not limited to:
- Aggravated battery.
A more complete list of crimes that can make you ineligible for entry to the U.S. can be found on the U.S. Department of State website. As a side note, drug offenses will make you inadmissible to the U.S.
However, muddying the waters is the fact that some crimes are not considered “crimes of moral turpitude”. Unless you have multiple convictions, have been convicted of other crimes that are considered to be lesser (misdemeanors), or the crime was recent, you will be allowed entry into the U.S. if you have a single charge of:
- Driving under the influence (drunk driving).
- Breaking and entering.
- Disorderly conduct.
- Simple assault.
To confuse matters further, you can be sometimes be admitted to the U.S. even if you have committed a crime of moral turpitude! This is so long as:
- The crime was committed when you were less than 18 years old, and the crime was committed more than five years ago; or
- You were imprisoned for less than six months for the crime, and the maximum penalty that was possible for you to have been convicted of for this crime was no more than one year of imprisonment.
How Do I Enter the U.S. Having Committed a “Crime of Moral Turpitude”?
So long as you haven’t committed a terrorism offense, in which can you will not be allowed entry under any circumstance, you can apply for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility if you’ve committed a crime of moral turpitude that would keep you out of the U.S. This will allow you to enter the U.S. for a period of up to five years, even if you are considered to be inadmissible.
The thing is, it can take up to a year for you to apply for the waiver as the waiting period is lengthy. The waiver is only good for a short period of only one, two or five years, depending on various factors. Plus, it’s costly: It is currently $585, payable in U.S. funds.
Applying for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility is a tricky process due to all of the legal documents that must accompany the application.