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Inadmissibility to the U.S. & the Petty Offense Exception

Even if advised by CBP that you need to obtain a criminal waiver, you may qualify for the Petty Offense Exception. Don’t go to the time and expense of filing for an unnecessary waiver. Call Immigration Attorney Rosanna Berardi for a consultation to determine if you qualify for this exception.

Do you think that because you have a single criminal conviction, you are automatically inadmissible to the U.S. and require a criminal waiver?

Think again. In fact, depending on your conviction, you may not be inadmissible at all. For example, a single conviction of drunk driving does NOT render you inadmissible to the U.S. You are only inadmissible if your conviction is deemed a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT). If that’s the case, you still might not need a criminal waiver thanks to the “petty offense exception” set out in section 212 of the Immigration & Nationality Act.

To qualify for the petty offense exception, you must show that:

  • You have committed only one Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) at any time, ever.*
  • The conviction carries a maximum possible sentence of one year or less.
  • You were not sentenced to a term of imprisonment any longer than six months.**

*The exception does not excuse inadmissibility because of a drug conviction. **You do not qualify for the petty offense exception if the court ordered a sentence of more than six months in jail, even if you spent less than six months in jail.

If you do qualify for the petty offense exception, then you can enter the U.S. without first visiting the embassy or enduring the burdensome process of obtaining a criminal waiver – which can take anywhere from 9-12 months.

Not sure if your conviction is a CIMT or if you qualify for the exception?

Don’t take chances. Contact Berardi Immigration Law. We are experienced immigration lawyers and can quickly determine if your conviction is, in fact, a CIMT and if you qualify for the petty offense exception.