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I was arrested 4 years ago in the US for drug-related charges. I have been formally charged with a crime, but I left the country before the court date and have not returned since. I believe I have a bench warrant out for me (in the state of Georgia) for fleeing. I had a US green card, but I am not a US citizen; I hold a Chinese passport. I was in the unfortunate situation of having to abandon my PhD as a result, but I'd like to start over and complete my degree in Germany.

My question is: Will this arrest/charge show up when I apply for my student visa to Germany? How will it affect my visa application and what steps can I take to avoid this negatively influencing my chances?

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    The open warrant would raise much more concern than the arrest itself. So the best steps would be to look for ways to make the warrant go away. But the form asks about convictions, not arrests. – o.m. May 6 at 7:37
  • You really have to see a lawyer. Chances are there is an arrest warrant on you. In this case police will already wait for you where you enter Germany as soon you are announced by the airline. They won't tell you on your visa application either – it will pass smoothly. – Janka May 6 at 9:34
  • @Janka, an arrest warrant in the US does not cause an automatic arrest in Germany. The US would have to fill an international notice, followed by extradition proceedings etc.The OP has given no indication that there is a Red Notice on him. – o.m. May 6 at 10:22
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    How should he know? By purpose, they don't tell you. – Janka May 6 at 11:30
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The German / US extradition treaty of 1976-06-20 only references hard drugs as a reason for extradition, so this would depend on which type of drug is referenced in the charges.

It is likly that any soft drug charges, that are considered a crime in the US, is not considered a crime in Germany.

Crime (Verbrechen) is when the minimal punishment is 1 year or more and without any reverence to a suspended sentance or money fine.

Every thing else is a Vergehen (misdemeanor).

Convictions are not referenced in §5 (general rules for the issuing of visas), where in §54 (serious crimes) artical 1 is not listed (conviction of 24 months or more). Only 2 and 4 are referenced (Overthrowing of the state and crimes against humanity).

As stated above, evasion of justice, is your main problem.

Here you are strongly advised to complile a statement explaining the whole affair including what the original charge is and the what the German equivalent is.

This statement (in german) should be compiled and verified by a German lawyer (i. e. it is clear to the reader that it written by a German lawyer).

With such a statement a decision can then be made if the affair is relevent or not.

Also a conviction record from your home country would be useful to determine if this a one time affair or not.

As a general rule, European Justice systems attempt to reintegrate offenders.

So the combination of a legal statement with a (lack of) a conviction record will go far in assisting them to come to a conclusion.

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