Record Cleaning for Non-citizens

If you are not a United States citizen, your criminal record can affect your ability to get legal status and to keep your status. Your criminal record can also put you at risk of being deported or of being denied reentry if you leave the United States.

The best way to clean your record depends on several factors related to your immigration status and goals. An immigration lawyer can help you understand which type of record cleaning is best for your situation. Visit our section on Legal Help for Cleaning Your Record to find a lawyer.

Immigration vacatur

Before you enter a guilty plea, the judge must tell you that you could be deported because of your plea. Your attorney must also tell you how your guilty plea will affect your immigration status. If the judge or your attorney did not do that, or if you did not understand what you were being told, you may be able to take back your guilty or no contest plea.

If you would not have pleaded guilty had you understood the immigration impact, you can take back your plea. You can use Form CR-187 to ask the court to let you take back your plea.

If the court grants the petition, it is like hitting the rewind button on your case—you go back in time to before you entered a guilty plea. You won’t have the conviction, but you will be facing the charges you had before you took the plea deal.