Visa Violations & Criminal Record on DS260; How detailed should an explanation be?


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I am trying to complete the online DS260.


On it there are 2 questions:


“Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?   

If Yes Explain:


The second is on Criminal Record “Have you ever been arrested or convicted ..."


My answer to both these questions is yes but just not sure how long an explanation I should give.


I moved to United States in 2000 on a F1 (Student visa). I dropped out of school later and therefore violating my visa. I soon got married to an American Citizen but had a difficult marriage. Our union fell apart and we were divorced in a few years (3). During our marriage we did file for change of status but it was denied for other reasons but not pertaining to the soundness of our marriage. We planned to file again but did not have the funds to. At the end of It we divorced without filling again. I soon left the United States and came home.


After years of living as a divorcee I met and married another woman who happen to be an American. I am in the process of filling out the DS260 (Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application), and I am wondering how long an explanation or how detailed should I make my explanation.


You see I could make it simple as I stated above mainly the key facts; I got F1 visa, travelled to US, dropped out, got married, divorced then moved back home.


I could also go into details of dates of F1, dates of travel, the particular school, dates of Dropping out and specific reasons why I dropped out. I could give name of my wife and who she was to me before we tired the notch and dates of marriage.  I could give dates of our divorce and reason for the divorce. The dates we filled our papers and reason why they were denied. How long I stayed in the country before I decided to come back home and the reasons why I choose to return home. I could also add information about my new wife and so on. In other words tell them from my visa violation (in US) to here present time applying to go back to united states (all).


I take it that both of these answers are genuine explanation to the questions, “Have you ever been unlawfully present ….”


The question is how much detailed should I be? I do not want to give information that will incriminate me or work against me during the interview. But I want to be truthful and maybe complete but give information that will help my case.


This becomes more challenging when it comes to the criminal record I want to tell them all that I know or remember because I do not want them to say that I did not disclose some information but yet again how much should I disclose? My guess is that I should include every arrest that I ever had even if it was traffic related. For example I was put in handcuffs for driving with a suspended license although I was not jailed  the officer informed me that I have been arrested and I was being let go on my own resonance. This I will put in the explanation but what about other tickets that i got and had to court for? I had a speeding ticket, driving with a suspended license, should I include all this?

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  • 3 weeks later...


I am going through a similar situation of adjustment of status (family based) with an arrest. This is my first application. Your case history is similar to mine. I had received a citation for driving without a license - no arrest - the case was dismissed by the court. There is no record of it. The court gave me a letter saying there is no record. And I was arrested for solicitation. In this case too the attorney who worked on my case said given the circumstances you are not being charged. So no court record, no document, no criminal history.

However, since these incidents had the police involved there are police reports - which always go against us omitting details favoring us. In the 485 application it is stated that if you were not charged, get a letter from the prosecutor or the arresting agency that they are not charging you with it. I talked to my attorney about it and he said it is almost impossible to get such a letter because the agencies will not admit their mistakes and in worst case might bring worse criminal charges available within the statute of limitations against you. So it is better to keep quiet. I am happily married with my US citizen wife and cannot risk living apart due to a denial and am trying my best to do everything I can to prepare for the interview.

Questions for you so you can get better help from others as well as others can gain knowledge from your experience.
1) Since you had gone through the 485 interview can you please share your experience and the reason for denial.
2) Which country are you from?  
3) What was the reason for denial given to you? Driving with a suspended license is not a CIMT (Crime involving moral turpitude) so that being the reason would be hard to imagine.

You made a great point - that you don't want to write something and incriminate yourself. This is very very important. I have been warned by my attorney and have been told to always use your right to remain silent because anything you say is used against you. The agencies don't have any interest in giving anything their interest lies in charging a person, denying an application etc. It's their job that's their performance metrics. So nothing against them. The first thing I would like to tell you is that you need a very capable immigration attorney.

Details on dates of travel, school etc. You should have this and should disclose when asked!! There is no question about it. Or they already have all of it. Yet they ask, and if you forget to mention they hold it against you. Please remember that holding a material fact will go against you even worse then the other criminal history. So an attorney should draft the explanation and every word of it.

Please let me know. Good Luck.

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  • 6 months later...


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