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Practice Advisory: Gathering Criminal Records for Immigration Matters

Practice Advisory
Issue area
Crimes/Post-Conviction Relief
Published: Aug. 31, 2022

This practice advisory provides an overview of how to effectively gather criminal records for immigration matters. The advisory briefly reviews considerations for conducting a criminal contacts screening and for evaluating the possible implications of a noncitizen’s criminal history if they are applying for benefits before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) or seeking a defense from removal in immigration courts (Section II). It then provides a summary of common criminal record terms (Section III) before reviewing steps and processes for conducting record searches both locally and federally (Section IV). Finally, it responds to some commonly asked questions about criminal record searches for noncitizens (Section V).