You will be permanently removed from obtaining U.S. citizenship if you have been convicted of:

  1. Murder 
  2. An aggravated felony (A misdemeanor might be considered an aggravated felony)

If the conviction was issued after the 29th of November 1990. 

If you are hoping to apply for naturalization in the U.S. and possess a criminal background, it is suggested that you meet to and speak with an immigration attorney prior to starting your application. You not only risk being denied citizenship but, also of being placed into removal proceedings and run the risk of removal and deportation to the country you immigrated from. 

Moral Character In Immigration Cases

To meet the requirements for citizenship, you must prove you are of good and sound moral character for a minimum of five years prior to your application is necessary. You can also do 3 years if you are allowed to apply early based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.

It is understandable if you are not perfect, but it helps if you can show that you have been a responsible member of your society, family, and workplace. With a criminal record on file, it may get harder to prove good moral character. The slightest minimal crime can have a negative effect on your application prompting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to look at your file in more detail and decide, that you have not shown good moral character in their eyes.

Crimes that make you temporarily ineligible for citizenship according to law, under the definition of GMC (Good moral character) The Immigration and Nationality Act or I.N.A. These include:

  • Income from illegal gambling, or a conviction of two or more gambling crimes.
  • A six-month jail detention of any crime committed
  • Commercial prostitution.
  • Committing an illegal drug-related crime except for a single offense crime involving 30 or fewer grams of marijuana.
  • Participating in smuggling undocumented people.
  • A conviction of two or more crimes, with a combined prison sentence of 5 years.
  • A Conviction of, or admitted to, a crime involving moral lewdness.
  • A practicing polygamist (A person who has more than 1 wife or husband at the same time)

What to do if you fall under one of the bullet points

If any of the above descriptions match you, you will need to start fresh. Restart the clock to 5 (or 3) years of permanent residence before applying for citizenship. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney may find an exception or alternative to better help you as the client. We here at are waiting to help you lock in your future. Contact us for help today.