How Can an Arrest Impact Future Visa Applications?

Whether you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, it can be incredibly stressful if you are an immigrant in the United States or for anyone, for that matter. If you are in the U.S. on a visa, you may be wondering whether your interaction with the law will come up later and jeopardize future visa applications.

How Can an Arrest Impact Future Visa Applications?

For starters, let’s take a look at the difference between being arrested, charged, and convicted. Every interaction with law enforcement is not considered to be an arrest nor will it always result in an arrest. In order for a formal and official arrest to have been made, U.S. law enforcement officers must read you your Miranda Rights. You may know Miranda Rights to include such key phrases as “you have the right to remain silent” and “you have the right to an attorney.”

After an arrest, you may or may not be formally charged with a criminal offense. If you are being formally charged, you will go through a formal process where you will be shown an indictment, which will reflect the offense you are being charged with. An officer of the court will also explain what you are being charged with.

If you are not charged, you will not be convicted. If you are charged, you may or may not be convicted. A conviction occurs when a defendant either pleads guilty to the charges leveled against them or is found guilty in a court of law. Arrests and convictions that occur within the U.S. are entered into a federal database for criminal records known as the National Crime Information Center.

Regardless of whether a person was convicted, a person arrested is still required to disclose this to immigration officers as well as employees of Homeland Security and the State Department if asked. Failure to disclose such could lead to a charge of “fraud to gain an immigration benefit.” Convictions, however, will have the more significant potential impacts on a person’s eligibility for things such as a visa. Convictions in the NCIC system are taking into consideration when making decisions relating to immigration status and convictions will include guilty pleas as well as guilty judgments found by a court.

Immigration applications in the U.S., including visa applications or modifications, always include a background check, including a criminal history check for past arrests and convictions. An arrest or conviction could adversely impact future visa applications. If serious enough, a criminal conviction may lead to a visa officer denying your application. Criminal conviction can also increase an immigrant’s risk of deportation. Furthermore, entrance to the U.S. may be denied to a person trying to immigrate to the U.S. if they have an arrest or conviction in their criminal history.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you have any questions about how these laws in the United States may impact you or your family, or want to access additional information about United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at, or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at