312-332-2550 Talk To A Chicago Immigration Attorney Today

Can a Criminal Record Prevent You From Becoming a United States Citizen?

by: Justin Burton

Are you a green card holder who is ready to apply for United States Citizenship? If so, you need to fill out and submit application form N-400 (the official application for U.S. naturalization) and eventually go before immigration officers for a naturalization interview. United States immigration officials will take a very close look at your history and general character, including any history of arrests or criminal convictions.

Under United States immigration law, you are legally obligated to answer a wide array of questions regarding your criminal history on form N-400. Indeed, you will be required to disclose any arrests or convictions. To be clear, a criminal record will not automatically prevent you from becoming an American citizen. However, it will make things far more challenging, and certain crimes could make you ineligible to apply. Here, our experienced Chicago immigration attorneys explain the impact that certain crimes will have on the naturalization process.

The Crimes That Will Permanently Ban You From Obtaining United States Citizenship

Under U.S. immigration law, a criminal conviction for any of the following will permanently bar you from getting American citizenship:

  • Murder;
  • Rape;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Violent sexual abuse;
  • Child sex crimes;
  • Possession of child pornography;
  • Armed robbery; and
  • Any violent crime that led to a prison sentence in excess of twelve months.

The Crimes That Will Temporarily Bar You From Applying For United States Citizenship

Under U.S. immigration law, a criminal conviction for any of the following crimes will temporarily make you ineligible to apply for American citizenship:

  • Prostitution;
  • Financial fraud;
  • Other fraud crimes;
  • Drug driving or drugged driving;
  • Possession of illegal drugs;
  • Certain drug trafficking crimes; and
  • Certain violent crimes.

If you have been convicted of any of the crimes listed above and you wish to apply for U.S. citizenship, it is imperative that you speak to a qualified Chicago immigration attorney as soon as possible. Your Chicago immigration lawyer will be able to review the specific circumstances that you are facing, and explain when you will be able to apply and what type of supplemental documentation you will need to produce.

Consult With an Experienced Chicago Immigration Lawyer Today

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, our Illinois naturalization and citizenship lawyers have experience handling very complex immigration cases. To learn more about what we can do for you, please give us a call today at (312) 332-2550 to schedule your confidential case evaluation. From our main office in the heart of Chicago, we represent clients throughout Cook County, including in Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Park, Palatine, Northbrook and Evanston.

Have A Question ? We can Help.