Crimes That Temporarily Bar Applicants From Citizenship

Crimes That Temporarily Bar Applicants From Citizenship

There are some crimes that can make a person only temporarily ineligible for citizenship.

There is a way you may still be able to receive U.S. citizenship:

After the date you committed the crime, you must wait out the same number of years that you would have to in order to gain permanent residence. This is typically five years. It is three years for applicants married to and living with a U.S. citizen for the duration of that time.

We say “may” because USCIS can still consider your past actions in reviewing your application and choose to deny it. However, this is the opportunity to prove that the good side of your character outweighs your bad previous acts.

Summary of crimes that make you temporarily ineligible for citizenship

  • You operated a commercial vice enterprise - for example, were a prostitute, ran a call-girl ring or sold pornography.
  • You participated in illegal vice activities - for example, hired a prostitute.
  • You have been convicted of or admitted to a crime involving moral turpitude, such as fraud.
  • You spent 180 days or more in jail or prison for any crime. You committed any crime related to illegal drugs other than a single offense involving 30 grams or less of marijuana.
  • You have been convicted of two or more crimes, the combinations of whic you got a total prison sentence of 5 years or more.
  • You get most of your income from illegal gambling or have een convicted of two or more gambling crimes.

The crimes on this list prevent you from establishing the necessary good moral character during the required period (three or five years). If anything on your record remotely resembles a crime on the list above, contact us.

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