Hi, I have quite a common question to put out there, yet I am looking for some personal clarity on the subject if you would be so kind as to help. Just under 2 years ago I received a police caution for common assault and am on the verge of booking my J-1 visa exchange appointment to study at Grand Valley State University in Michigan on an academic exchange year. I was wondering if such an experience is likely to negatively impact on my acceptance of my application at all? I have been assured by some (non-professional) people that I should not be too concerned, and the term 'moral turpitude' has been spoken about, to which my minor crime does not seem to fall into the stereotypical category of. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to give.
State/Country relating to question: Michigan
I have searched various online sites relating to visas an police cautions and spoken with my Study Abroad office at university, who deal with many exchange applications yearly.
The general answer is that you would not be automatically denied a visa because first, you not technically have a conviction as it is a caution and second, even if it was a conviction, as long as you had less than 6 months jail time (no time is less than 6 months), then it fits into the petty offense exception.
The more specific answer is that no one is entitled to a visa. There is no "right" to a visa. And even though you would not get an automatic denial, all it takes is for an officer to say to themselves, "There are a thousand other people that want to come to the U.S. I'd rather give an approval to someone that has nothing on their background. I don't want someone that could be a problem coming into my country and not following the rules, so I will deny this person." Or you would more probably get an officer that says, "Well, there is no automatic denial here, and it was something minimal and they didn't even get convicted, so I am going to approve because I think everyone deserves a 2nd chance." There is no way to guarntee either one, but because it was such a minimal problem, you should be ok. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I would be happy to answer them for you without additional charge, if not, please do not forget to click ACCEPT. I am not paid a salary. Clicking accept is the only way that I can get paid for helping you. When you click accept, you are not charged again and we can continue to communicate without additional charge if you have a few follow-up questions. If there is a delay in getting back to you it is either because I am answering other questions or I had to log off, but I will be back with you as soon as possible. If you would like to request me in the future, just put my name on the subject line. Positive feedback for my service to you (not the state of the law as it is) is always appreciated as well as any bonus if you think I deserve it. Thank you.
10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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