Skip to main content

Can a current lawful Permanent Resident, who entered the US illegally in the past, become a naturalized citizen?

Brooklyn, NY |

My mother has been a Permanent Resident since 1997 and is now applying for naturalization. However, she originally entered the US illegally in 1989. The N-400 asks whether you've ever entered illegally. Can this affect her application? She has never been arrested for anything.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5


It will not affect her eligibility.

The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


No. Many people who entered illegally prior to 1997 are now US citizens. As long as she did not make any material false representations in her previous applications and there are no issues that will render her ineligible, she can go ahead and apply for naturalization.


No. It will have no affect.


No, she will not have an issue. When your mother was granted lawful permanent resident status, all grounds of inadmissibility were removed, as long as she made no misrepresentations.

So, if your mother revealed to USCIS that she entered undocumented at the time she applied for her green card, she has no problems with that issue. However, if your mother failed to inform USCIS that she entered undocumented prior to getting her green card, then she will have a serious problem.

Good luck!

FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION AVAILABLE. Phone (646) 663-5902. Offices in Queens and Manhattan. Website located at Our responses on this site do not create an attorney-client relationship. Our responses on this website are for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Immigration and nationality law is a complex area of law which requires careful review of a person's particular circumstances. Do not rely on any answers provided on this site to make a decision on your case. For proper legal advice, you may contact us for a free initial consultation.


With an illegal entry prior to 1997, she can apply for naturalization immediately, unless there are other grounds of ineligibility.