About a year ago I committed a petty theft in a store in my home country, the amount of things stolen was less than 10 USD. I was given a fine and never served jail time. Am I inadmissible to the US as a foreign Master's student or skilled worker?


Most questions regarding study and work abroad belong on Expatriates, but the statutory grounds of inadmissibility apply equally to those categories and to visitors.

A petty theft as described in the question does not trigger the statutory grounds of inadmissibility (8 USC 1182(a)(2)(A)), but it will present an obstacle that you will probably have trouble overcoming so soon after the conviction. This history could lead a visa officer or immigration officer to doubt your credibility or the good faith of your application. For an offence of this nature, the magnitude of this obstacle may be small, but a prudent visa applicant in your shoes should consider engaging an immigration lawyer, who should be able to help you address your history without appearing desperate.

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    For most people the cost of an immigration lawyer is out of reach. For a petty theft offense with value less than $10 USD, if I were him I would have all my discharge papers and a succinct explanation ready and then roll the dice by going for the interview myself. – user 56513 Aug 6 '18 at 8:41
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    Your record is your record, regardless of citizenship. Lying about your record is a huge risk: in many countries it can make you permanently inadmissible. It seems that taking such a huge risk over a minor offence would be very foolish. – phoog Aug 6 '18 at 8:56
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    @HypeTotec Visa applications almost invariably ask about prior criminal records. – user 56513 Aug 6 '18 at 9:19
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    @TheZealot however, they rarely ask about the time of crime. According to Canadian immigration rules, a crime is deemed pardoned if more than 10 years passed since. If I check the blank near "have some criminal record" but my certificate from police is clean, they may automatically assume that my crime is more than 10 years old – Hype Totec Aug 6 '18 at 9:24
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    @HypeTotec It appears you want to lie to them. – user 56513 Aug 6 '18 at 10:06

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