How a criminal charge may affect your immigration status

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Immigration |

When you apply for citizenship in the United States, you must reveal any criminal charges or convictions in your past.

Whether or not a criminal conviction will affect your citizenship or entry to the United States depends on the severity of the crime and when it occurred.

You may be inadmissible

A person who is inadmissible to the United States may not enter the country. Criminal convictions that cause inadmissibility to the United States include crimes of moral turpitude, human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking and prostitution. Once three to five years have passed since the conviction, people convicted of crimes of moral turpitude can still apply for citizenship.

You may be removable

Criminal convictions put your immigration status at risk whether you are a permanent resident or visa holder. A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude within five years of arrival to the U.S. can cause your removal from the country. Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes involving fraud, theft, dishonesty or deliberate violence. These are reckless crimes intended to cause harm.

You may be permanently barred from citizenship

Murder and aggravated felonies result in a permanent bar from citizenship and they also cause deportation. Aggravated felonies that can permanently prevent a person from gaining citizenship include rape, statutory rape, violent crimes that result in incarceration for more than a year, money laundering in excess of $10,000 or income tax evasion of over $10,000.

Depending on the type of crime, when it occurred and how old you were when it occurred, you may still be able to apply for citizenship if enough time has passed and you can provide evidence of good moral character.