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N-400 Citizenship application with misdemeanor a long time ago

Boston, MA |

Currently I'm contemplating becoming a citizen. But one thing worries me: a long time ago (definitely before 2004 when I got my GC), I made a stupid mistake: I was caught shoplifting a $11 item at Home Depot. Police came and I got fingerprinted. Later I got a citation and went to the court house. A magistrate dismissed the case with a misdemeanor judgement. Now I didn't want to lie in N-400 but I totally forgot when the incident happened and I couldn't find any paper work either. I went to the court, Home Depot and local police station but nobody could find any record whatsoever. The court clerk told me what I went through at the time with the magistrate was a show cause hearing and the case had never gone any further so no record.

Could somebody please advise?

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Attorney answers 4


I'm glad you are looking to become a citizen, it is definitely very important to do so! The $11 shoplifting charge shouldn't prevent you from doing so. Get your CORI to see if it is on your record. Also, get your docket sheets from the court. You have to be honest on your application about the incident. Or, better yet, hire a lawyer to make sure it is done right. Good Luck!

Massachusetts Immigration Attorney


It does not sound like a bar to citizenship but go see a lawyer to go over everything before you file.


You have to disclose your arrest and furnish USCIS with a disposition. If no one could find a record, have them give you a letter that says there is no record found, but make sure you explain the incident fully and say what happened to the case. Better yet, hire a local lawyer to search for you and furnish you with a letter that provides details. If you were fingerprinted, its like there is a record somewhere.

Answers given on this site are general advice only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Obtaining criminal records can sometimes be difficult. For old records it often can be helpful to know specifically what you need and where to look. Running an FBI record check (you state you have been fingerprinted) can also be helpful. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can review your and advise you how best to proceed.

Jeffrey A. Devore, Esq.
Board Certified Immigration Attorney
Devore Law Group, P.A.
2925 PGA Blvd., Suite 204
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Telephone: (561) 478-5353
Facsimile: (561) 478-2144
Skype: jeffrey.a.devore

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