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Does your criminal history affect your citizenship?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Citizenship |

Becoming a citizen of the United States is a dream for many immigrants living in Pennsylvania. However, if you have a criminal record, you may wonder if your past mistakes will impact your chances of obtaining citizenship.

While not all crimes will immediately bar you from receiving citizenship, it is important that you understand the process and the potential consequences that a criminal record can have on your status.

Eligibility for citizenship

Individuals with a criminal record may still be eligible for citizenship in Pennsylvania. However, the severity and type of crime committed may affect your eligibility.

Some crimes may disqualify you from citizenship altogether, while others may require additional steps or waiting periods before you can apply. It is important to note that immigration laws and policies are complex and may change over time. Therefore, it is crucial to seek guidance from professionals to understand the latest updates and requirements.

Impact of your criminal history

When you apply for citizenship in Pennsylvania, you must disclose all criminal history, including convictions and charges a judge dismissed or expunged. Failure to disclose criminal history may result in denial of citizenship and potentially even deportation. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will evaluate your criminal record to determine if you meet the “good moral character” requirement, which is one of the eligibility criteria for citizenship.

A criminal history may be a negative factor in the determination of good moral character, but it is not an automatic disqualification. USCIS will consider various factors, such as the nature and severity of the crime, the length of time since the offense, and evidence of rehabilitation.

Having a criminal record may impact your eligibility for citizenship in Pennsylvania, but it does not necessarily mean that you cannot become a citizen. It is important to be truthful and upfront about your criminal history when applying for citizenship. With the right information and preparation, you may still be able to achieve your dream of becoming a citizen of the United States.


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