I am a Chinese national who has lived in the US for 15+ years. I have a drug-related criminal charge against me from the US but I left the country before my court date (my lawyer did not feel like it was worth it for me to stick around). This was my first time offence, and non-violent.

I'd like to study in Germany for a masters degree but I'm worried this legal obstacle will prevent me from getting a student visa. I understand that the application asks for "convictions". Since I was not convicted (I never went to court) is it super risky for me to say no and leave it at that? I know there is an element of risk involved but I'm also wondering if my Chinese passport will play a role here. Are the German authorities likely to look into my criminal history both in the US (as I've lived there for so long) as well as China (I am a Chinese citizen; FYI I have no record in China). Or is it better to simply be honest and tell the truth (in which case I'm worried I will be denied the visa anyways). Is it wise to simply pretend I've never been to the US (or have spent very limited time there) and show them a clean Chinese criminal record? How likely is it for Germany authorities to look at my criminal history? (I.e. do enough research that they find this unresolved case)

I've also heard of universities asking prospective students to interview for a position. If I apply for a visa to go for the interview will this case come up then as well?

Seeing as how I need to have an acceptance letter from a German university before I apply I'd like to be more informed about my options before I start prepping my university applications.


This is almost the same question (with a different user) as found here:

How does a drug arrest in the US affect chances of a student visa in Germany?

I gave a complete answer there, that should be sufficient for this question.

Therefore a short summary:

Your first application should include all information relating to your situation, even portions they are not asking for now.

The main point that needs to be clarified is the evasion of justice (after being charged, you left).

If you tell them everything now, you cannot be accused of withholding relevent information

  • they and only they determine what is relevant

Coming clean now will greatly highten your chances of a positive result

If they know the worst from the beginning, there will be no nasty surprises later.

The worst scenario that can ever happen is a conclusion

  • had we known about this beforhand, we would never had let you in in the first place

Follow the advice given in the other link and that will give them enough to come to a conclusion as long as they do not believe that something else is being hidden.

As to your question how likely they will query foreign criminal records, I think you are looking at the problem the wrong way around.

The offical is reading you application:

  • 15 years in USA
  • studied for a PhD in Georgia
  • suddenly left Georgia without compleatng PhD

NaNu, thinks the official, that is strange.

Looks further through the application and finds no explanation.

Sends a query to Georgia asking: do you know a person called 'student123', possibly also called 'user97057'?

Why yes, reply's Georgia, we do. We'll send the record about the drug charge and fleeing the country.

The official looks through the record, see's that the crime in the USA, is only a felony in Germany and thinks to himself : What a pity, had he told us about this from the beginning... but now...

And the application is refused for withholding relative information and entered into the Schengen Database.

This scenario is more likely to happen than for every application 51 queries (50 States plus Federal) plus your home country.

  • Thank you for the detailed answer. Yes, that post was also by me. I must've posted without registering an account before and forgot about it.
    – student123
    May 14 '19 at 8:28
  • Please take the advise about the German lawyer writing a complete statement describing your complete situation seriously. Expensive, but I believe the most realistic way to resolve your situation. May 14 '19 at 8:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.