You are here:

Immigration Issues/H-1b visa and criminal record


I am a Canadian citizen that has recently been hired by a professional organization in Michigan.  I have a criminal record (bookmaking charge) from 1996 that has been pardoned by the Canadian government.  I applied for a waiver years ago and Homeland Security informed me that the charge was not serious enough to need a waiver, rather I should just carry the letter with me when crossing.  I then applied for a Nexus and was given one despite the criminal record.  My employer has a law firm that specifically handles H-1b and my future employer has not yet asked me if I have a record.  My first question is should I persuade them to allow me to apply for TN status rather than H-1b? Could this potentially bypass the process and help my situation? Secondly, if not, will my record potentially affect the immigration decision?  Third, will my employer find out about my record as a result of the process.  Please note that a search will not show that I have a record as it was pardoned but immigration has the information.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Vince:
Regarding your concerns [as per information provided]:

1) Either TN or H1B it will take it's own process time and procedures.  I do not understand what do you mean by - bypass the process.  
2) As per info provided (DHS says no waiver is required...) it seems you only need documents to show that the charges were pardoned and you should be fine.
3) If no record exists, it's hard to assume that your employer will find out; however, if there is an RFE (depends what info/evidence is required) in your case the employer might become aware of your record with immigration.

However, please note that - just because the criminal charge was pardoned does not mean that it will not have impact on immigration process. It depends on the nature of offense/charge and what was it punishable with.  But, if DHS has already informed you that no waiver is required - you seem good there.

PS. In case kike your's it is advisable that you seek proper consultation with an immigration attorney dealing with criminal cases.  

Best wishes,
Ajay Singh, Esq.
275 North Street, Newburgh, NY 12550
845-84-1500 (Tel.) 646-807-4582 (Fax)

Immigration Issues

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Questions regarding Immigration to United States, including Removal/Deportation Proceedings, Asylum; Green Card through Family (Fiance/ee Visa, Spouse, Children, Parents, Siblings); Green Card through Employment (Labor Certification - PERM, Extra Ordinary Ability - EB1, Religious/Entrepreneur - EB4/EB5); Non-Immigrant Visas - H1B, L1, F & M, J1, J1 waiver, Humanitarian relief (Cancellation of Removal, Prosecutorial Discretion, TPS, Dream Act); Hardship Waiver (I-601/212) etc., are welcome.


Dealing with clients seeking immigration help since year 2001. Main area of practice is Immigration Law.

Member - AILA. Bar Council of India.

LL.M - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, NY. LL.B - Campus Law Center, University of Delhi, New Delhi.

©2017 All rights reserved.