Criminal History and Deferred Action Requests

If you have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or are otherwise deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process. 

What is the difference between “significant misdemeanor”, “non-significant misdemeanor”, and “felony”?

Felony Significant Misdemeanor Non-significant Misdemeanor
A felony is a federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

 A significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and:

  1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
  2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence. 

A crime is considered a non-significant misdemeanor (maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less but greater than five days) if it:

  1. Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
  2. Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.


A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process, but it is important to emphasize that driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence imposed.  You can find detailed information in the National Security and Public Safety section of the USCIS Frequent Asked Questions.