Background Checks and U.S. Immigration

© 2009 Peter J. Loughlin & Thomas W. Goldman

Do You Need to Get a Background Check on Yourself Before Filing Immigration Applications?

You may not be aware of it, but obtaining a background check on yourself before you file any Immigration applications can be one of the wisest things that you can do. If you are planning to apply for a green card or other immigration benefit, you should be aware that certain offenses may make you ineligible or inadmissible.

Even if you already have a green card you may be deported if you have been convicted of certain offenses. You can rest assured that the Government will know more about you than you than you may realize. If your goal is to come to the United States–or remain here you need to check your background record now before applying for immigration benefits.

It is not uncommon for individuals to be completely unaware that they have a criminal record. Sometimes their background check shows they have committed a crime when in fact they have not. Other times they may believe that criminal charges have been dismissed against them when they have not. Mistaken identity is always a possibility. You need to understand that there could be things in your background checks that don’t belong there–or you just don’t know are there. Human errors may have been made when information was entered into the government computers. We’re sure you’ve heard about people having negative information on their credit reports, yes? Well the same thing can happen with criminal background records.

Another common problem is that something that occurred years ago is still on record though it should have been dismissed. Whether real or a just a mistake, a negative background report can cause untold problems for you, particularly when applying for immigration benefits.

Once you know what’s in your report you’re in a better position to deal with it. Perhaps there was a clerical error that can be corrected. Even in cases were the conviction is valid, you may be entitled to a waiver and to have the record vacated. But you need to be certain of the record before you file immigration applications. And, as we said earlier, even persons who already have a green card may be at risk of loosing their green card and being deported–sometimes for crimes that were committed many years ago. Whether you already have a green card or are applying for immigration benefits for the first time it is a good idea to know about your criminal record. If it turns out you have some criminal issues in your background please see an immigration lawyer to evaluate your case.

You can get Background Check online in about 5 minutes. If it turns out you have problems, you or your lawyer can then follow up by obtaining official conviction records to determine if there’s cause for concern and if you are eligible to file for a waiver, etc.

Obtaining an online criminal background report will help determine if you’ve ever been arrested, charged or criminally prosecuted. In addition to causing U.S. immigration problems, having a criminal background can affect your employment prospects. Obtaining both Federal and State background checks is essential. A driver license report is another record you may wish to to get on yourself. This will tell you if there are any mistakes that could affect your obtaining auto insurance and your ability to get a job.

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