Will My Arrest Prevent Me from Applying for Citizenship?

The answer to this question depends on the situation. It can not only affect your application for citizenship, of course, it can affect whether or not you can keep your green card. Clearly, the more severe the crime is the more danger you are of actually losing your green card and being denied for citizenship.

In the statute and regulations under the Immigration Nationality Law, they are very clear about who eligible, and who is not, for citizenship depending on the crime. Each crime is specific to your application, so I would need to know for sure what exactly you were convicted of. In general, though, because one of the requirements is that you demonstrate that you’ve been of good moral character for the last five years before applying for citizenship, you don’t want to have any arrests. I generally tell people, if you were arrested within the last five years, you probably shouldn’t apply for citizenship. Again, depending on what the outcome is.

In general, if the case was dismissed, you may be eligible for citizenship, or may get your application approved. However, immigration does have the authority under a general catchall provision to deny the case just by virtue of the fact that you were arrested. If you have something a lot more complicated, or you’re not sure about whether it’s complicated, it’s super important that you talk to an immigration lawyer so they can understand the nature of the offense. In cases where you have criminal convictions, you don’t want to lose the green card and worry about whether or not you’re going to be eligible for citizenship.

If you have questions about any arrests or convictions, and how that affects your eligibility for citizenship, please contact my office. I’d be happy to discuss your situation with you.

Sesini Law Group is an experienced immigration law firm, practicing in Milwaukee and Green Bay, WI. Please contact our office with any questions you may have and set up your initial consultation.

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