What is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude and When is the I-601 Waiver Required?

What is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude and When is the I-601 Waiver Required?

Legal Overview of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

Section 212(a)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states, in pertinent parts:

(i) Any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of

(I) a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime … is inadmissible.

There are however three exceptions to the inadmissibility triggered by Section 212(a)(2)(A):

  • Purely political offense:
    • Defined in DOS regulations at 22 CFR 20.41(a)(6).
    • Includes offenses that resulted in a conviction obviously based on fabricated charges or predicated on repressive measures against racial, religious, or political minorities.
  • INA  212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I) (also referred to as the “Juvenile Offense Exception”):
    • Only 1 CIMT was committed, and
    • The alien was under age 18 at the time, and
    • The CIMT was committed and the alien was released (if confined) more than 5 years before the date of application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status.
  • INA 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (also referred to as the “Petty Offense Exception”):
    • Only 1 CIMT was committed, and
    • The maximum penalty possible did not exceed 1 year, and
    • If convicted, the sentence imposed did not exceed 6 months (regardless of the time actually served).

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