A few months ago, I was convicted and fined nominally for indecent exposure in my country of residence (different from my country of nationality and origin). From all that I have read online including cases involving the US BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals), I'm not sure if my particular case will qualify as a CIMT (crime of moral turpitude) and render me inadmissible. Short of testing this out by applying for a visa to check my admissibility, can anyone here shed light on this?

Second, and to complicate matters, a couple of years ago I got a B1/B2 visa (M type - multiple entry) valid for 10 years. In what way does the US ensure that people who developed (serious) criminal records after getting a visa like mine are kept out? If I try to enter the US on this visa, will there be a question asked (perhaps on a disembarkation form - I forget what documents exactly are involved if you already have a visa) about past convictions - which I'm intending to answer truthfully? Can the CBP officer in the US read my answer and deny me entry?

Essentially, I want to ascertain whether I'm still admissible to the US after my conviction. If I didn't have a B1/B2 visa, I would have applied for one to see whether I would be allowed in. However, having the visa already doesn't leave me that option. What options do I have to ascertain this now without the risk of being denied entry when I arrive in the US?


1 Answer 1


There is an exception for petty offences, known as the sentencing exception or petty offence exception, whereby a crime involving moral turpitude does not trigger inadmissibility if the maximum available sentence does not exceed one year's imprisonment, and the actual sentence does not exceed six months' imprisonment. Since you were not imprisoned, all you need to determine is the maximum period of imprisonment for the offence. If it is less than one year, then it does not matter whether it is a CIMT. There is a fairly thorough discussion in Part 9 of the Foreign Affairs Manual, the official State Department guidance for visa officers.

(Note that if you received a suspended sentence of imprisonment, you must take it into account even if you were not actually imprisoned. If the suspended sentence was longer than six months, the exception does not apply.)

The statutory basis of this exception is codified at 8 USC 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II).

  • Yes, in my jurisdiction the max imprisonment for my crime is 3 months and my sentence was a low fine, so I think I qualify for this exception. Thanks for linking to the relevant rules and laws.
    – inapickle
    Jun 3, 2019 at 19:17

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