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I have restraining orders against me from the family court, would that affect my immigration status?

Clifton Park, NY |

I have restraining orders against me from the family court which are good for 1 year. I am on green card right now and would apply for citizenship next year. So my question is that can there be a problem obtaining citizenship? And also for how long does that stay in your background history?

I was not arrested for violence. There is no police report or medical report. I never violated the protection. I got my green card through family immigration (my aunt sponsored my father) and my spouse here in the US was on a R1 visa.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. I changed the category to immigration for you as it seemed more suited to your question. What was the result in family court that led to the order of protection?

    All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. However, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication. For a privileged private consultation, contact me at 212-385-8600 or via my website

  2. If the underlying charge is family violence you have problems. Best to consult with an immigration attorney who understands the overlap between criminal law and immigration law. This could be a removable offense.

    If you apply for naturalization (citizenship) this will certainly come up. You need to consult with an attorney.

  3. More information is needed. Have you been arrested for domestic battery or violence? Have you violated the order of protection? It may be a situation that can result in deportation proceedings without further information, but this remains unclear. If you have not been charged with a crime, then you need to stay away from both your wife/subject and the home. Otherwise, you can be charged with a crime.

    If you are divorced before you naturalize, then you must wait five years from the date that you were granted conditional/permanent resident status to apply for naturalization.

    I strongly recommend an appointment or teleconference with a competent and experienced immigration attorney.

    This is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

  4. Under federal law any "conviction" (i.e., a plea of gullty or a finding of guilty) for a crime of "violence" committed by a non-citizen subjects the perpretator to both prosecution for the criminal offense and to potential loss of other rights. This would include being subject to deportation for non-citizen immigrants (with right to protest, of course) and potential loss of right to convert "green card" status to citizenship status for those holding the card.

    Under federal and most state law a criminal conviction is a permanent record and cannot be expunged. It might be possible to remove a conviction from a "public" record under the laws of a particular state but generally only under a showing of excetptional circumstances.

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  5. As my colleagues have said, their are many "unknowns" in your scenario. You need to consult with an immigration attorney who can review all the documentation in your case. That being said, you have two different issues.

    First, and most important, is the order of protection a concern with regards to keeping your LPR status? This depends on whether ICE considers you to have been convicted of a crime that supports a charge of deportability. Again, you need an immigration attorney to review the court records.

    Second, will that order of protection have any effect on your eligibility for naturalization? It may. There are issues involved in eligibilty for naturalization regarding good moral character. Orders of protection often com einto play and are considered by USCIS in determining good moral character. I have had past clients who experienced problems with applying for naturalization where they had an order of protection that was in effect during the time period that USCIS required them to dmeonstrate that they had good moral character. Again, you need to consult an immigration atttorney who can examine all the doccumentation and analyze the facts of your particular case.

    The existence of the order of protection will always "stay in your background history". The question is who has access to it. With an immigration matter it wil always show up in your security and background check. It is a matter of whether it is something that can be "used against you" when USCIS considers your application.

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