Can I Get U.S. Citizenship with a Criminal Record?

By Attorney Yifei He

Have you ever done anything that got you arrested? If so, did it leave a mark on your criminal record? Maybe you made a small careless decision that led you to negative consequences. However, if you are thinking about applying for U.S. citizenship, having a criminal record may be unfavorable for you.

Good Moral Character in Citizenship Applications

If you have gone through the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) website and determined that you are eligible to apply for the U.S. citizenship, you will need to file Form N-400. During the naturalization process, one of the steps is to “demonstrate good moral character” (USCIS).

Unfortunately, depending on your criminal record, you may or may not have a disadvantage for this requirement.

Bars on Good Moral Character

The USCIS places permanent and conditional bars to their good moral character depending on the nature of those charges.

Crimes that can lead to permanent bars to good moral character include:

  • Murder
  • Aggravated felony, such as rape
  • Gathering or transmitting classified information
  • Lien smuggling
  • Violation of religious freedom

Crimes that may instead lead to conditional bars include:

  • Moral turpitude
  • Gambling
  • False testimony
  • Controlled substance violations

If your charges or criminal record contain any good moral character bars, you will face unfavorable consequences in seeking citizenship. You may not be allowed to apply, and USCIS may even deport you.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Crime and Immigration Matters

If you are planning to apply for the U.S. citizenship and are currently charged with a misdemeanor or felony, please contact an attorney for legal assistance. I have rich experience in this area and have successfully handled many criminal immigration cases in the past. I am confident that I can provide you with the most favorable outcome and do my best to eliminate any remaining concerns about your criminal record.

I will be on your side through your journey of applying to be a U.S. citizen. Contact me today to get your customized solutions by scheduling an initial consultation!