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Advice on Work Permit/Visa

Advice on Work Permit/Visa

Old Jan 9th 2002, 10:56 am
  #1  
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I'm really starting to despair and some help and advice would be nice. I am putting the final stages to accepting a job in the US to teach in a university. However, my past is coming back to haunt me.

I'm 33 now and am a UK citizen. In my 20s, while a student, I went through quite a bad time emotionally, and found myself arrested three times for being in the wrong place at the wrong time: once for 'soliciting' and twice for 'gross indecency', i.e. being caught with another male in secluded cruising areas. These were minor offences and were dealt with by the way of small fines. They are all spent convictions bar the last one, which was four years ago. Since then I have had counselling, and I have put all this behind me and moved on, changing my lifestyle and coming to terms with myself.

The problem is that I now have to obtain a H1B. I'm not sure what they require, but I believe a police certificate may be one of the essentials. I don't know what to do, as on one level these offences are not serious: they are not crimes of violence or drugs. Should I simply not reveal them in my application, or would that be a serious mistake? The problem is that I obviously don't want to be refused entry. Furthermore, this involves questions related to my sexuality. My employers do not require any information about previous offences, but would they have to find out via immigration if I come clean? This is unfair, as I have worked hard to make a career for myself, and if my employer found out I was gay and had these minor transgressions, then I would probably lose my job.

I am a law-abiding citizen, and as you can imagine, I am very, very distressed about this whole situation. If anyone can offer me any advice, it would be gratefully received.
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Old Jan 9th 2002, 7:55 pm
  #2  
Sylvia Ottemoeller
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Ukprof wrote:

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You'll have to fill out a form which asks if you have ever been arrested or
convicted. See http://travel.state.gov/ds0156.pdf.

Since you will be saying "yes," I presume, you should have full documentation
available, copies of the police records, and copies of the court documents, for each
offense. Failure to have these available up front will only result in delays while
the consular post asks you to get them.

I don't know what to do, as on one level these offences are
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It would be a far, far, far more serious mistake. Believe me.

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Here is some material on criminal grounds of inadmissibility:
http://travel.state.gov/visa;ineligible.html,
http://www.criminalandimmigrationlaw.com/cmt/cmt.html,
http://www.americanlaw.com/exclude3.html,
http://www.mindspring.com/~docsteen/...o/visainfo.htm (follow links to "Foreign
Criminal Record."

It doesn't appear as if you are inadmissible, but even if you were, you may be able
to get a waiver. There are some good attorneys in London who are experienced with
U.S. immigration law and practice. You may wish to sit down with one and pay for a
consultation, if only to set your mind at ease.

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How do you know this? The employer may have some standard personnel forms which you
will have to fill out upon hire, which may ask about arrests and conviction.

but
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They probably do not have any way of finding out. Neither the consular post nor INS
will formally inform them. If you fail to arrive because you are inadmissible, you
could give them some excuse, I suppose.

Later on, if you obtain employment-based permanent resident status, you will have
to answer a similar question on Form I-485 or Form DS 230 Part II, in the last
stage of the process. If you have the university staff help you with the last stage
of your green card process, they will find out. If you hire a private attorney,
particularly to do the last bit (adjustment or consular processing), the employer
need not find out.

This is
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Even if they do find out, you needn't worry, unless it is an extremely religious,
conservative school. The vast majority of institutions of higher education in the
U.S. are very liberal, and would make a point of not discriminating against you based
on these matters.

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