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Will a dismissed shoplifting charge have an effect my F-1 visa renewal?

Los Angeles, CA |

Hi.. I have been caught shoplifting about two years ago, got arrested, been to court and pleaded no contest.. I was placed in a diversion program which I completed successfully and given probation period.. Later on I have been to court again and got my case dismissed. My only concern and question is; I am wondering if this could affect my F-1 visa renewal (getting it denied) when I go back home for vacation? I have traveled back and forth several times after the incident but never applied for a visa renewal. P.S.: This is the only offense I have on my record. Thanks a lot.

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Attorney answers 3


Hire yourself a good immigration lawyer to plead the one time "petty theft exception" and you will dramatically increase the chances for your visa being renewed .You will not solve your problem by posting the same question over and over here. You will need to disclose the arrest, diversion, etc., etc.

Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


As Mr. Behar said, there are no options for not disclosing the existence of the offense. It is a conviction, and "dismissing" (expunging) the conviction does no good at all in the minds of USCIS & ICE. A dismissal for merely administrative reasons does not change the affirmative finding, through your plea, that you committed the misdemeanor theft. And as a theft, if you don't get a lawyer to claim the first-time offense exception to the act, it could result in your F-1 renewal being denied, and you being given possibly permanent ineligibility for any future immigration visa.

All answers to immigration questions should not be taken as legally binding advice. If you have an immigration issue, please call me at Pacifica Legal Services 805-290-4930 and make an appointment for an initial 30 minute consultation. Additional time is billed at $100.00 per 30 minute increments. Todas las respuestas a las preguntas de inmigración no deben tomarse como asesoramiento legal. Si usted tiene un problema de inmigración, por favor llámeme al Pacifica Legal Services 805-290-4930 y hacer una cita para una consulta inicial de 30 minutos. El tiempo adicional se factura a $ 100.00 por incrementos de 30 minutos.


No contest and diversion CAN BE A PROBLEM.

Ask your foreign student adviser to give you a name of one of the immigration lawyers that helps students at your school.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.

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