On April 5, 2018, Conor McGregor was reportedly arrested in Brooklyn, NY and charged with one count of felony criminal mischief and three counts of assault. The criminal complaint alleges that the MMA  star threw a metal hand cart into the tour bus window of rival UFC fighters and punched a security guard in the head. McGregor, who appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Courthouse on April 6, 2018 has reportedly posted $50,000 bail and is due to appear in Court again on June 14, 2018.

How will the criminal proceedings affect McGregor’s professional MMA career? In this article, we will examine the possible immigration consequences arising from the criminal proceedings, in the event McGregor is convicted of the charges against him.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

Under US immigration law, any individual convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” (hereafter “CIMT”), is deemed inadmissible to the US. CIMTs have generally been defined by the Board of Immigration Appeals as crimes which  “shock the public conscience” and are “inherently base, vile, or depraved”. CIMTs include murder, rape and fraud offenses.

Although simple assault is generally not considered a CIMT, if the charges against McGregor are elevated and he is subsequently convicted of assault with aggravating factors, there is a real risk he may be deemed inadmissible to the US, due to the commission of a CIMT. Similarly, if convicted, there is a possibility the felony criminal mischief charge may constitute a CIMT.

If McGregor is subsequently convicted of a CIMT and is deemed inadmissible to the US on that basis, he would be ineligible to enter the US on ESTA and any existing visas may be revoked. As such, McGregor would be required to apply for a visa and waiver of inadmissibility in order to successfully obtain entry to the US in future. If McGregor is convicted of a CIMT and has a recent conviction for a CIMT committed in the US on his record at the date of his visa application, it may be difficult for him to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility in order for a visa to be granted.

It is noteworthy that, while celebrities should not expect to receive preferential treatment by US authorities, the determination of whether a waiver of inadmissibility should be recommended and granted includes a consideration of whether it is in the public interest to allow the foreign national in question to travel to the US. Therefore, if McGregor was convicted of a CIMT, any Consular Officer adjudicating upon any subsequent US visa application by McGregor would be compelled to consider the public interest in allowing McGregor to travel to the US in determining whether to recommend McGregor for a waiver of inadmissibility. Similarly, the Admissibility Review Office would be required to consider the same factor in determining whether to grant a waiver of inadmissibility.

It is equally important to note that possession of a visa, if successfully obtained, does not guarantee entry to the US. If McGregor is convicted of a CIMT and is subsequently successful in obtaining a visa and waiver of inadmissibility in future, there is no guarantee he will be granted entry to the US by the CBP Officer at the Port of Entry.

How Will McGregor Seek to Minimize the Impact of the Criminal Proceedings on His Immigration Status?

Based on the immigration consequences of a conviction, particularly a conviction for a CIMT, and the potential impact of such a conviction, if convicted, on McGregor’s future earning capacity, it is likely McGregor’s criminal attorney will aim to secure a plea deal, to ensure that any convictions which result from the incident do not impede McGregor’s ability to travel to the US.

In any event, regardless of the outcome of the trial, McGregor is now ineligible to enter the US on ESTA as a result of his arrest and will henceforth require a B-1/B-2 temporary visitor visa in order to visit the US for pleasure or business.  We will endeavor to provide updates, as the case progresses.

Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, amongst others, we represent professional sportsmen in connection with non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications. We understand the importance of travel to the US at short notice and therefore offer a comprehensive, efficient, diligent service, tailored to your unique needs. Call now for a complimentary assessment of eligibility and take your first step towards achieving your true potential, on the international stage.



Published: 19th April 2018