Can you still apply for a citizenship if you have a minor case from 18 years ago?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

One of my relative wanted to apply for a citizenship, but she is not sure how it work when it come to having a record in the background. In 1994 she was charge with Fraud, it has now been 18 years since it happen. One of her friend told her that when she fill out the citizenship application she didn't really have to include that because they only look back 10 years, it that true? I personally told her she should include it anyway so it won't look like she is hiding it, but she told me she just want to save time so that way she don't have to go back to california and get the court docket etc. Now I just wanted to know when they do background check it will show up correct? Even if she don't put it on there, or will it not show because it has been almost 20 years since the incident.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Rebecca Cook Black

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If it pings up on the post 9/11 enhanced background, she'll get into trouble for trying to lie. Have her request certified copies of the arrest report , charging document and final disposition. If the court does not retain those reqords, then, a statement from the clerk of court to that effect. Take those documents to an immigration attorney and ask them. You would be surprised at how many long time LPR's are getting hit returning from a trip out of the country or renewing their green card from ancient criminal records like that.

    This is a general answer only and does not imply that I am your attorney giving advice with full knowledge of all... more
  2. Kimberly Schaefer


    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you take a close look at the N400 questions on good moral character, you'll notice that the word "ever" is in bold type. If an applicant has ever been arrested, cited, detained, convicted, etc., then the information must be disclosed on the N400. This is not optional and failure to list everything will likely result in a denial based on lack of good moral character related to the failure to disclose everything. Depending on the specific facts of her case, it can also lead to deportation proceedings.

    You may want to recommend that your relative discuss her case with an immigration lawyer before filing anything with the government. She should not rely on the advice of a "friend."

    Whenever someone has any involvement with law enforcement, it is very important that they consult with an immigration lawyer before applying for citizenship. Even "minor" offenses can have devastating immigration consequences. She should not file her application until a lawyer has the opportunity to review her court records to verify that she is not deportable.

    (703) 424-2979. Virginia Immigration Lawyer - Helping Future Americans Become Citizens
  3. Luis Alberto Guerra


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My colleagues are correct.

    Guerra Saenz, PL--Immigration Attorneys (954) 434-5800. This answer is of a general nature and should not be... more

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