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With Sex Offender Record, Could USC Still Petition For Alien Spouse/Fiancé?
Browse: 4252       Date:07-24-2012     

Law Office of Jessie Ho is a boutique law firm which has long-time devoted in Immigration Law and Family Law. Over the past two decades, Attorney Jessie Ho has encountered numerous cases so complicated that the clients couldn't handle alone. Jessie would always put herself in her clients' shoes and genuinely thought in the best interests of her clients and provided professional solutions for them. Recently, a client had consulted Jessie about his case regarding him as a  US citizen with criminal record whether he can petition his fiancé in China or not. Considering his case is typical in a certain level, therefore, we post his question and Jessie's advice here for the sake of the readers who are in the same situations.

A Client Asked:

I am a US citizen and I had sex offender record. I have a Fiancé in China and  I want to petition for my Chinese fiancé to live in the U.S.  Some lawyers mentioned Adam Walsh Act which bars me from doing that . 

Could you find out whether I still have the power to get her here?

Law Office of Jessie Ho Answers:

Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, also called Adam Walsh Act (AWA), U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have convictions for "specified offense against a minor" must disclose this information at the time of filing any relative petitions with USCIS.


Basically all I-130 and I-129F will handled by Vermont Service Center (VSC) if the preliminary adjudicator determines that the petition may be subject to an AWA provision.


The AWA will come into play if the petitioner files for a family member that is a parent, spouse, child or sibling. AWA will not bar the petitioner if the relevant criminal charge was dismissed, withdrawn, or prosecution finds nolle prosequi (no prosecution). If the victim of the sexual abuse was an adult, then the conviction may possibly not bar the petitioner under AWA. If the VSC determines that AWA may apply, the VSC has the right to schedule a fingerprint appointment for the U.S. petitioner.

You can ask for a waiver of the bar under AWA by showing that the petitioner does not pose a risk to the beneficiary. You can also attach any of the following that may help to show you pose no risk of harm to the beneficiary, such as you completed all counseling or rehab programs, evidence showing you are rehabilitated, you are helping the community, affidavits from you, beneficiary and family members, etc.

Proof of rehabilitation is helpful to your case. In addition to the above suggestions, U.S. petitioners need to know that if the USCIS grants the waiver and allows the case to continue, the petitioner's criminal information will be shared with the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is not aware of the petitioner's criminal history, then possibly the case can be denied for lack of bona fide marriage, because in USCIS' view a real relationship would include the couple sharing information about any criminal background that exists.

Attorney Jessie Ho
Attorney Jessie Ho started her career in immigration and family law in 1990. She has represented hundreds of foreign nationals from Taiwan, Japan, China, Vietnam, India, England, France, Germany, Australia and many other countries around the world in their nonimmigrant visa and permanent residency applications. The clients she has represented include large high tech corporations, start-ups, non-profit organizations, government entities and individuals. Jessie has published immigration-related articles in the Chinese-language newspaper "World Journal", and has been interviewed with Channel 66 and Channel 26 on numerous occasions to discuss various topics on immigration and family law. Jessie is an active member of America Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She had represented low-income clients in their immigration proceedings. She was the AILA coordinator for filing of Adjustment of Status with San Jose INS from 1999 to 2001.