Seeing the police coming up behind you while driving can be nerve-wracking. If you are stopped for a minor traffic violation, paying a fine or appearing in court should be enough. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be worried about how it can impact your immigration status.
Any moving violation must be reported on your Form N-400. The United States government will not automatically deny citizenship because of the offense, but remember that your license could be taken away if you keep committing violations.
Some examples of minor moving traffic violations include:
- Ignoring a stop sign
- Running a red led
- Changing lanes without signaling
If you committed a traffic violation, be sure to pay your fines before the deadline and try to keep your record clean in the future. Even if you hide your violations, the USCIS can still do a background check on you, so it is better, to be honest.
Serious traffic offenses to avoid
A traffic violation that hurts or kills someone else is a serious crime that could lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge. A criminal charge can make renewing a visa or applying for citizenship difficult. Even a minor traffic violation can result in deportation if connected to a crime.
Some examples of serious offenses include:
- DUI (driving under the influence)
- Hit and run
- Reckless driving
What to do when the police pull you over
Being stopped and questioned by the police can be stressful, especially knowing that many deported immigrants have traffic violations. However, many were caught because they were undocumented and did not have legal driver’s licenses.
If the police stop you, stay calm and cooperate. Getting angry or disrespecting a police officer will only make things worse. If you are arrested and believe you did nothing wrong, it may be wise not to answer any questions until you talk to a lawyer.