Crimes That May Prevent You From Receiving U.S. Citizenship

If you have dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen, it’s important to understand the legal requirements and potential obstacles you may face along the way. One significant factor that can prevent you from obtaining U.S. citizenship is committing certain crimes. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict guidelines regarding criminal history, and being convicted of certain offenses can have serious consequences for your immigration status. 

Want to know what crimes can affect your chances of becoming a US citizen? Few examples of these crimes are drug offenses, aggravated felonies, crimes of moral turpitude, domestic violence, and child abuse. 

Let’s take a look into these crimes in detail:

Drug Offenses and Trafficking

If you’ve been involved in drug offenses or trafficking, you won’t be eligible for U.S. citizenship. The USCIS considers drug-related crimes as serious offenses that can have significant consequences on your immigration status.

Whether you’ve been convicted, admitted to committing, or even associated with drug offenses, it can result in a denial of your citizenship application. This includes offenses such as possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking of illegal drugs. It doesn’t matter if the crime occurred in the U.S. or abroad; it can still affect your eligibility.

The USCIS will thoroughly review your criminal history, and even a single drug-related offense can be grounds for denial. It’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney if you have any concerns or questions about your drug-related criminal record and its impact on your citizenship application.

Aggravated Felonies

Aggravated felonies can disqualify you from obtaining US citizenship. These are serious crimes that carry harsh penalties and can have lasting consequences.

If you have committed an aggravated felony, it shows a lack of respect for the laws of the United States and can be seen as a threat to public safety. Examples of aggravated felonies include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, and certain firearms offenses.

While it may be possible to apply for a waiver or other forms of relief, the process can be complex and the outcome is not guaranteed. It is crucial to seek professional guidance to navigate this difficult situation.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Committing certain immoral acts can have serious consequences on your eligibility for US citizenship. Crimes of moral turpitude are offenses that involve dishonesty, fraud, or intent to harm others.

Examples include theft, fraud, assault, and certain drug offenses. If you have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within five years of applying for citizenship, it can result in your application being denied. Even if the conviction occurred more than five years ago, it can still be a factor in determining your moral character.

It is important to note that not all crimes of moral turpitude will automatically disqualify you from obtaining citizenship, but they can be grounds for denial. 

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Experiencing domestic violence or engaging in child abuse can greatly impact your chances of obtaining US citizenship. These actions are considered serious crimes that directly contradict the values of the United States. If you’ve been involved in domestic violence or child abuse, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences. Committing these offenses not only reflects poorly on your character but also raises concerns about your ability to uphold the principles upon which US citizenship is based.

The US government prioritizes the safety and well-being of its citizens, especially vulnerable individuals like children and spouses. Therefore, engaging in such behavior can lead to the denial of your citizenship application. 

Money Laundering

If you’ve been involved in money laundering activities, your chances of obtaining US citizenship may be significantly diminished. Money laundering is a criminal offense that involves disguising the origins of illegally obtained funds by making them appear legitimate. This illegal activity is often associated with organized crime and can have a detrimental impact on the overall economy.

Espionage and Terrorism

If you want to become a US citizen, it’s important to steer clear of any involvement in espionage or terrorism activities. Engaging in such actions can legally prevent you from receiving US citizenship. 

Espionage refers to the act of gathering and transmitting classified information to a foreign government, while terrorism involves the use of violence or intimidation to achieve political or ideological goals. Both of these activities are considered serious crimes and are strictly prohibited under US law. 

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a heinous crime that involves the exploitation and coercion of individuals for forced labor or sexual exploitation. The United States takes a strong stance against this crime and has implemented strict laws to combat it. By engaging in human trafficking, you not only violate the rights and dignity of others but also jeopardize your own future in the country. 

Prostitution and Solicitation

Engaging in prostitution or solicitation can have severe legal consequences and hinder your path towards becoming a US citizen. The United States takes a strong stance against these activities, considering them to be illegal and morally wrong. 

If you are caught participating in prostitution or solicitation, you may face criminal charges, fines, and even imprisonment. These charges can have a lasting impact on your immigration status and your application for US citizenship. Immigration authorities take these crimes very seriously and view them as a violation of good moral character, which is a requirement for naturalization. 

Firearms Offenses

When it comes to firearms offenses, possessing, selling, or using firearms unlawfully can have serious implications on your immigration status.

If you have been convicted of a firearms offense, it may result in your application for citizenship being denied. The USCIS takes these offenses very seriously and considers them as a violation of moral character.

It’s important to understand that even a single firearms offense can have a lasting impact on your immigration journey. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations surrounding firearms to avoid any potential legal obstacles on your path to citizenship.

Immigration Fraud

Immigration fraud refers to any deceptive practices or false representations made during the immigration process. This can include providing false information on your application, forging documents, or engaging in marriages of convenience for the purpose of obtaining a green card. 

If you’re found guilty of immigration fraud, it can result in serious consequences. Not only can it lead to your application for US citizenship being denied, but it can also result in criminal charges, fines, and even deportation. 


It’s important to be aware of the crimes that may legally prevent you from obtaining U.S. citizenship. It’s crucial to abide by the law and make responsible choices to ensure a smooth path towards citizenship.