DUI or DWI Conviction and Citizenship Application

Danielle Nelisse

Written by

Immigration Attorney

Contributor Level 10

Posted over 4 years ago. 2 helpful votes



Thinking about applying for U.S. Citizenship, but have a DUI Conviction?

In many states it is still possible to become a U.S. citizen even though you have had one (or sometimes two) convictions for drunk driving in your past. One of the requirements for U.S. citizenship is that a person be of "good moral character." If a person is convicted of certain crimes (no matter how long ago), they can be considered to be a person of bad moral character. Some citizenship applicants are legitimately more worried about their previous DUI conviction than passing the citizenship test. However, convictions for simple DUI offenses in most states are generally not considered to show bad moral character because the driver did not intend to drive drunk. Each of the 50 states in America has drunk driving law that is written differently. In general, if the words "reckless" or "had



Individuals with a DUI may wish to hire an Immigration Attorney to go with them to the citizenship interview, as the interviewing Officer will be asking many questions about good moral character in general for the previous five years because of the drunk driving conviction. The Officer can also take into account any of the person's behavior prior to the five years if it is relevant to the person's current moral conduct. The person should admit responsibility for the DUI conviction and be ready to explain verbally and through documents (like completion of classes and/or volunteer work, involvement in the church etc.) that he is not a habitual drunk and that he has changed his life for the better. In general, if an immigration lawyer is present at the citizenship interview, there will be less questions asked about the DUI incident itself.

Additional Resources

Citizenship Application

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

26,583 answers this week

3,048 attorneys answering