What if You’re Accused of a Crime While Applying for U.S. Citizenship - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re considering becoming a U.S. citizen, it may make sense for you to talk to an immigration attorney who can walk you through the process, answer your questions, and ensure your paperwork is filled out properly and filed with the appropriate authorities. However, even if you’re working with an attorney, there are a few things that can throw a wrench into your plans.

What if You’re Accused of a Crime While Applying for U.S. Citizenship?

You probably already know that a criminal record can stop you from becoming a U.S. citizen. When you’re living in the U.S. with a green card, you have to stay on the right side of the law; even one slip-up can mean the denial of your petition (and you could be forced to return to your country of origin).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider every crime you’ve committed during the period you’ve been in the U.S. as part of your application for citizenship, and what they’re trying to determine is whether you’re a person of “good moral character.”

Most people have to live in the U.S. for a period of 5 years before applying for citizenship. That’s what USCIS will look at – those 5 years – when they’re making a determination.

If you’ve pled guilty to a crime or been convicted of a crime, you may want to wait until 5 years has elapsed since your conviction. While it’s not a guarantee that USCIS will overlook the issue, your immigration attorney may advise you to wait before you apply for citizenship.

Do You Have Questions About Immigration That a Lawyer Can Answer?

We may be able to help you if you have questions about immigration or if you’re ready to apply for citizenship.

Call us at 414-383-6700 today. If it’s easier, you can also get in touch with us online. We’ll discuss your situation and begin developing a plan to help you on the path to U.S. citizenship.

Carlos Gamino