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Applying for Visa from America w a Criminal Record

hawkeye79 (2 posts) • 0

Yo, I'm a grad student, and will be living in China for one or two years on the X1 Visa. My significant other would like to join me later on during my stay. Since we are not married he was thinking to just get a tourist visa and renew a couple times. However, he has a felony (charged, not convicted) on criminal record in his state of residence. We have seen some advice on other forums saying just to lie about this on the tourist visa application. Wondering if anyone out there has experience doing so, or has any advice about how my SO might join me here most assuredly and easily.... Much appreciated!

michael2015 (572 posts) • -2

SHORT ANSWER
Don't do it. This is China, NOT the USA. Criminal penalties here are more severe than the standard US practice of catch and release.

Also - generally speaking - the police won't understand as generally when you're charged with a crime in Asia - it's usually a foregone conclusion that you're actually guilty and the trial is more of a sentencing and punishment venue.

Hotwater (201 posts) • +2

@michael2015, how are the Chinese authorities going to know if an American was charged but never convicted in America?

cloudtrapezer (351 posts) • +3

Don't mention it on the visa form. They'll never know. This isn't America which has the highest incarceration rate in the world (where on earth did the idea of catch and release come from?) Your boyfriend hasn't been convicted of anything. The worst that can happen is they'll refuse him a visa.

JanJal (651 posts) • 0

"has a felony (charged, not convicted) on criminal record"

Going slightly off-topic, but can someone clarify to me if charges without conviction go to criminal record in USA too? I thought all that innocent until proven guilty takes precedence.

Or does OP mean, that he was charged with a felony AND found guilty, but not sentenced to anything?

tigertiger (4792 posts) • +2

I have read that in the US if you are arrested, and then not charged, that goes on your record too. It is also a legal requirement to put this information in job applications. This is a great social injustice IMHO.

tigertiger (4792 posts) • +2

This topic has been covered a lot on other forums, if you search it. As said above, one consensus is the worst that can happen is they'll refuse him a visa.

hawkeye79 (2 posts) • +1

Thanks for the tips, I have seen some similar posts but still not heard from anyone with this actual experience, so wanted to put this out there. As for the charged/not convicted, I know that it must vary by state, but at least where he lives the charge has remained on his record. If the charge had been thrown out completely it may have been different. I will keep looking into it.

tigertiger (4792 posts) • +1

I am not sure how this is done, but you can apply to have criminal records 'expunged', and that clears all records. This has other benefits beside visa applications.

michael2015 (572 posts) • -2

I'm actually a bit shocked at the responses to this post - encouraging "lying" and deception of the laws of China. The cavalier attitude and disrespect of certain elements of this expat community to the laws of China is astonishing.

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