For many, part of the American dream is to become a United States citizen. There are many advantages to becoming a US citizen such as having the right to vote, being eligible for federal employment or benefits, and the option to travel abroad for as long as you want without any restrictions, just to name a few. As appealing as this may be for immigrants, there can be obstacles preventing an individual from becoming a US citizen. Here are some common issues that many immigrants run into when seeking citizenship.
Owing back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can undoubtedly affect a case in citizenship approval. It is important to pay taxes on time as lawful permanent residents because your tax history goes under review and is included in the determination of whether or not you are of “good moral character”. We will later discuss what it means to be of good moral character. Owing taxes does not necessarily deny you of citizenship. If you can actively show efforts in resolving repayment, you may still be eligible for approved citizenship. This could be as simple as enrolling in an IRS payment plan.
If court-ordered to pay child support, then evidence must be shown that the immigrant parent has provided financial support for their child/children that do not live with them. This comes with no boundaries, meaning that the child could live abroad or here in the US. In some cases owing more than $2500 in past due child support will result in automatic denial of your passport application. However, if you can demonstrate reasonable efforts to repay or circumstances providing evidence as to why you may be behind in payments, US citizenship may still be granted.
In order to apply for citizenship, you will need to report a criminal record to the government. You are required to report all arrest, police stops, or detention in addition to persecutions and convictions. During the process, you will complete a background and fingerprint check.
Certain crimes such as murder or any aggravated felony will cause a person to be ineligible for citizenship and possible deportation.
Good Moral Character (GMC)
Good moral character can be a key factor why US citizenship may not be granted to a lawful permanent resident. GMC is defined as meeting the moral standards of the average citizens in your community. It covers a range of requirements needed to be met, determined by a five year or three year (if married to US citizen) background check.
If becoming a US citizen is a part of your American dream contact Lewis Law, P.A. to find out if there are any issues preventing you from achieving it. Many times an immigrant attorney can find ways to help you meet your eligibility requirements. Call us at 954-530-1717 and follow us on Facebook at Lewis Law, P.A. and Instagram @Lewislawpa