Things That Can Affect Your Citizenship and What You Can Do

Things That Can Affect Your Citizenship and What You Can Do



Things That Can Affect Your Citizenship and What You Can Do

Applying for United States citizenship can be an exciting step – that is until you learn your application was denied. While you might expect to sail through the process of naturalization, there are certain issues that can affect your citizenship application. Below are some common hiccups, and to discuss your specific situation, speak with an Illinois immigration attorney today. 

Unpaid Taxes

The IRS expects you to pay your taxes whether or not you are already a U.S. citizen. If an analyst at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) learns that you are behind on your tax returns or tax payments, they can deny you application. An attorney can help you demonstrate to USCIS that you are trying to rectify the situation, such as through an IRS payment plan, and this might allow you to proceed with the naturalization process

Unpaid Child Support

All U.S. parents have the responsibility to financially support their children, and if your children live with their other parent, you should be able to show that you are current on any court-ordered child support payments. Some people can provide a reasonable explanation for falling behind – such as job loss from a global pandemic, for example – and USCIS might reconsider the application.

Questions of Character

To be approved for naturalization, you must be able to show that you have good moral character. Of course, character is a subjective factor, but USCIS uses certain indicators to determine that someone does not have the requisite character to become a U.S. citizen.

Your conduct for the prior five years will be the focus of this assessment in most cases, and USCIS will specifically examine whether you engaged in any of the following conduct, among other things:

  • Lying to immigration officials on any type of immigration application or matter
  • A criminal offense involving intentional harm to another person
  • Fraud against the government
  • Offenses involving controlled substances – possession or trafficking
  • Unlawful gambling
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Prostitution
  • Polygamy
  • Terroristic acts
  • Persecuting anyone for their religion, race, national origin, social group, or political group
  • Two or more criminal offenses that led to an aggregate of five years in prison or longer
  • Being imprisoned for offenses for 180 days in the last five years
  • Not properly completing probation, suspended sentences, or parole

If you engaged in any of the above, immigration officials can find out through a background check or other investigation of your application. You should always speak with an immigration attorney before filing your application in this situation. 

Lack of Selective Service Registration

People applying for naturalization agree to support and defend the U.S., and males aged 18 to 25 years old with green cards must register for selective service. If you have this requirement, you need to provide your registration number with your citizenship application. If you are now 26 and did not previously register, you can take retroactive steps through the Selective Service System’s Status Information Letter. Talk to your attorney about your options to address this matter. 

Contact a Chicago Immigration Attorney for More Information

The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates, P.C. helps clients overcome obstacles to citizenship and avoid problems when possible. Contact us to discuss your options. 


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