Can I Naturalize If I Have Criminal Convictions?

June 12, 2018

Below are the general requirements for naturalization with some exceptions:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing.
  • Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

Source: USCIS

For legal permanent residents who have ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime the process becomes more complicated. Some serious crimes can result in a permanent bar to naturalization. For some it's better to not apply due to the high chance of denial. An immigration attorney can help you analyze your record and help you determine if it's safe for you to apply for naturalization or if it's better to wait or if it's best not to apply at all.

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