If you have aspirations of becoming a U.S. citizen, then you may know that there are certain factors that the government considers during the process. One of these is your criminal record.
Not all crimes will bar you from becoming a citizen through the naturalization process; however, many do. Learn more about what might disqualify you from attaining citizenship.
When did you commit the crime?
The government often requires you to obtain a green card or visa as part of the immigration process. A crime that occurs during your time in the U.S. may put your application in jeopardy. However, due process allows you to go through the court system, which may exonerate or convict you. Thus, any deportation proceedings do not begin until your conviction.
Certain crimes that you commit before entering the country will immediately bar you from doing so, including crimes of moral turpitude, such as murder. Some crimes, such as prostitution, may not stop your entry if you can prove that doing so was your only choice. Since human trafficking is a cause for amnesty, you may seek entrance even with a prostitution conviction behind you.
What was the crime?
If you face a criminal conviction of a felony assault or murder, you may face deportation. The type of crime matters. Misdemeanors may not rise to a level of deportation or disqualify your naturalization. If you have multiple convictions, however, your chances of becoming a citizen may dwindle.
Immigration issues can feel overwhelming. Gaining a basic understanding of how your actions might affect your efforts can go a long way toward your citizenship goals.