In 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled that defendants in criminal cases must be advised of the immigration consequences before pleading guilty in criminal court. If you are thinking about renewing your green card after being arrested, know that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, will examine your permanent resident record. Any legal mistakes you may have made will be discovered and evaluated.

Replacing a permanent resident card

Criminal offenses do not always trigger automatic inadmissibility or deportation for an immigrant. When renewing or replacing a green card, these crimes will be revealed to USCIS. When a permanent resident files Form I-90, which is called the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card form, the applicant must pay for and submit to a criminal background check.

Obligation to renew

There is a legal obligation for any permanent resident over the age of 18 to carry a valid green card at all times. An arrest should not stop a permanent resident from renewing or replacing a green card. When renewing a green card after an arrest, the following types of offenses could make the green card holder eligible for deportation:

  • an aggravated felony
  • a crime of moral turpitude within five years of receiving a green card
  • two deportable crimes at any time
  • a drug crime
  • domestic violence
  • a firearms offense
  • a fraud-related offense

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act the term “aggravated felony” is broadly defined. Most states utilize a much smaller scope when outlining the characterizations of this legal concept.

After an arrest or conviction, the act of renewing a green card can expose the applicant to significant immigration issues. Not all criminal records will make it impossible to renew a green card, but it does complicate the application process. Know that a criminal record does not mean an automatic denial when renewing your green card.