Tattoo Checks & Visas

A young man from Colorado flew to his home country Mexico for an interview because of his application for U.S. permanent residency. Seven months later he couldn’t remigrate to the United States. His visa was denied because of several tattoos on his body. Some of the tattoos are associated with dangerous Mexican gangs.

He loves his tattoos. The only reason why he got his tattoos: he thought they are cool. But the man from Mexico is not in a dangerous gang.

In the last years a lot of green cards or legal permanent residency applications were denied because of tattoos. The politicians are concerned about foreign gangs entering the United States. So they try to deny green cards. Especially if the applicants have tattoos which are associated with dangerous gangs. The green cards of many Latin American immigrants are being denied because of their big tattoos, above all if the tattoos are affiliated with any foreign criminal organization.

Many of the tattoos are only decorative and have no dangerous background. The main problem, however, is that a lot of tattoos causing an upset for immigrants are symbols of gang membership that have been adopted by mainstream, non-gang members.

Bottom line:  having a tattoo does not mean a U.S. green card application, legal permanent residency application, etc. will automatically be denied. However, having a tattoo that the consular officer has to investigate because it resembles a gang-related symbol, is part of the routine process and can lead to the denial of an application. 

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Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs