Foreign Criminal Convictions Do Not Stop F-1 Visa Approval!
May 28, 2024

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li proudly announce yet another victory in securing F-1 visa approval despite the client’s criminal record. We would like to share this story with you.

Our client approached us seeking our assistance in obtaining a student visa abroad. The client was apprehensive as he had a criminal record from his college days. Although the client had only one conviction, the crime was related to invading someone else's privacy. Despite being aware of the difficulty he might face, when he received an offer from their dream school, he knew he couldn't give up without trying. The client wanted to ensure that his past criminal history would not hinder their ability to acquire a student visa, so they reached out to the Law Offices of Sabrina Li for help.

Certain criminal offenses render a client inadmissible from the United States under INA § 212(a). If our client was determined to be inadmissible from the United States, it could have severely impacted his future immigration options, so we knew we had to tread carefully.

Our talented and experienced team reviewed the client’s supporting documents regarding his criminal record to ensure that he remained eligible for his student visa. We also made sure to prepare the client for his visa interview by giving him mock questions. Additionally, we made sure to accentuate the client’s positive attributes, such as his prior good standing as a student, top marks, and evidence that he was otherwise an individual of good moral character.

Our diligent efforts were rewarded, and the client’s student visa was approved without a finding of inadmissibility!

To be eligible for an F-1 visa, an individual must establish:

  • A foreign residence which they have no immediate intent to abandon;
  • They are a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study;
  • The applicant seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursing such a course of study;
  • The applicant will study at an institution approved by SEVP in compliance with SEVIS; and
  • That they are admissible to the United States and merit a visa in the exercise of discretion.

If you have ever been arrested, cautioned and/or convicted of an offense anywhere in the world, you are required to disclose it when applying for a visa.  If you were arrested and/or convicted of an offense in the United States, you should obtain a court record from the court. Such court records must show the nature of the offense(s) committed or those that are currently pending against you, if relevant, the section(s) of law contravened, and the actual penalty imposed.  If the arrest did not result in a conviction, you may submit with your application the documents relating to the arrest.

If you have been arrested before, especially if your arrest led to a conviction, it can significantly affect the likelihood of your student visa application being successful. A serious conviction may render you permanently ineligible to receive a visa to travel to the United States. In such instances, a waiver is required to enter the country. However, a conviction does not necessarily preclude the success of your visa application.

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li are your dedicated advocates in navigating the complex terrain of immigration law. With a proven track record of overcoming legal hurdles, including those involving prior criminal records, we specialize in turning potential obstacles into pathways for success. Whether you're seeking a student visa or facing inadmissibility issues, our experienced legal team offers personalized strategies and robust representation to optimize the outcome of your case.

If you or someone you know faces a similar situation and requires the expertise of skilled professionals, look no further than the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Call us today at (213) 375-8096 or email us at We are committed to providing the assistance you need, so please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for you.

Need Assistance?

Request A Consultation Today

Contact Us

Holistic Approach

Our attorneys possess diverse immigration experience and have an in-depth understanding of the complex interplay between various immigration laws, policies, and regulations, ensuring accurate and comprehensive guidance. We offer a full range of immigration services, addressing all aspects of your case while identifying potential opportunities and challenges.

Personalized Attention

We provide a tailored approach to each client's case, ensuring that you receive individualized attention and a customized strategy for your unique situation. We adjust our strategy as your needs or circumstances change, guaranteeing a seamless transition between different phases of your immigration journey.

Passion and Commitment

Our team is composed of immigrant and first-generation American professionals, along with individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Many of us have firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced during the immigration process. This allows us to provide guidance and advocacy rooted in authentic understanding.