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Filing for citizenship & don't know how to answer "Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?

Rockville, MD |

Confused on how to answer this question because I shoplifted at 17 & in order for my records to be sealed/expunged I had to do community service hours and jury duty. I did all that and got a letter saying everything has been sealed or expunged not sure which, BUT should I just answer NO to the question on the citizenship application or will they check my sealed juvenile records too. Also how do I check if my records were sealed or expunged. HELPP PLEASE!!!

Attorney Answers 4


You must be truthful and answer yes. This conviction is not a bar to naturalization. See below:

(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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You answer Yes.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice. Mr. Leroi answers questions on Avvo because he strongly believes in public service from his years as a judge, magistrate, and prosecutor. If you need to ask any follow up questions because my answer did not fully address your question, feel free to call Chris or post an additional question. Thank you.

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You need to talk to an immigration attorney in person, who should ask you relevant questions before advising on how to answer this very important question. Wrong answer to this question might be a deal breaker.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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My answer assumes that this is your only offense.

I understand that this is a confusing question. The basic idea with the naturalization process is that you have to tell the truth.

The answer to your question depends on whether you were arrested. If you were arrested for the shoplifting offense, then answer "no." If you were not arrested for the shoplifting offense, you answer "yes."

Immigration law is complicated. This answer is based on the limited information provided and should not, therefore, take the place of a consultation with an experienced attorney nor be considered legal advice. By answering this question, no attorney client relationship has been established.

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