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Do misdemeanors prevent immigrants from becoming a US citizen? And how likely will a misdemeanor cause a removal/deportation?

Pittsburgh, PA |

If 1 count of misdemeanor is on record (theft)
Held green card for 10+ years.
26 years old
Not married, don't have any kids

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


Generally, certain criminal convictions do pose problems in establishing a good moral character - as an applicant for naturalization (i.e. citizenship) one of the requirement is to show that you are a person of good moral character for 5 years (3 years if married to US citizen or 1 year in case you are in the military) prior to filing your application and up to the time you become a US citizen. Depending upon the actual sentence, type of offense (even if it is a petty theft), and the recency of conviction MAY make you ineligible to apply for naturalization at this time. I would strongly urge you to consult with an immigration lawyer before applying for naturalization.
Rajesh Prasad, Esq.
Parikh and Prasad Law Group
5861 Pine Avenue Suite B
Chino Hills, CA 91709


Yes all criminal convictions impact immigration status. The most important question is to what extent. Retain counsel asap.


Yours is a very general question, and it is really not possible to answer it to the full extent in this forum. It all depends on where the crime was committed, the language of the criminal statute, the sentence received, etc. The fact that it was a misdemeanor does not answer all the questions in regards to immigration. One could have a misdemeanor conviction and still be inadmissible/deportable. You should consult with a reputable immigration attorney to assess your criminal/immigration history before filing your application. Good luck.

[This answer is for general purposes only; it does not constitute advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.]


Yes, misdemeanors can cause ineligibility and a denial of US citizenship, including certain theft convictions. Also, a misdemeanor can result in deportability, including certain theft convictions. It really depends on a number of factors, including when you became an LPR, when the offense occurred for which you were convicted, and the elements of the offense, and possibly your record of conviction. All make a difference -- you need immigration counsel that is well versed and expert in the the immigration consequences of crimes, as the law in this area changes rapidly and often.