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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 102140
Experience:  Private practice in several areas, including immigration
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I have a felony on my record, can I still apply? It was one

Customer Question

I have a felony on my record, can I still apply for citizenship? It was one count, class c felony and I was locked up for 11 months but ICE said I wasn't deportable.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

How long ago was your conviction? If you were incarcerated, how long ago did the incarceration end? If you had parole deferred probation, when did it end?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello! Just touching base to see if you still needed an answer and if you could reply to my query. Thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was convicted on October 14th 2014, I was in jail for 364 days. I am still on probation for about 30 more months
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also immigration didn't put a hold on me. They actually sent the prison a letter of no interest. It was not aggravated felony
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

1) In order to apply for citizenship, one needs to show Good Moral Character as a requirement of the application, and this has to be for the last 5 years. As such, someone in your situation would have to wait to apply 5 years after parole ends. This is when the time begins ticking for the year requirement. So you could file, but not just yet.

2) There is a risk. Although ICE deemed you not deportable at the time, they can always change their mind. This is unlikely since USCIS/ICE/CBP focuses more on (1) recent arrivals, (2) aliens with threats to security and (3) aliens with serious criminal history. However, while I do not know what you were specifically convicted for, it may fall under one of the issues listed HERE. If so, USCIS/ICE can decide to trigger removal. Thus, one wants to be SURE that the conviction does not fall under one of those issues before applying 5 years from the time the parole ends.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I looked through the list and I'm not inadmissible too. Does this affect me traveling in and out of the country? My green card is still valid
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your follow up. No, this does not affect you traveling in and out of the USA provided the greencard is valid and the crime would not trigger a removal under the law.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my offense was theft of public money : title 18, united states code, section defense lawyer had me plea guilty to this violation to avoid deportation. While I was incarcerated, ICE tried to take me thru proceedings but later dropped the case and sent a letter of no interest to the facility after they reviewed my case. I just need to have that peace of my mind that if I can't file for citizenship yet I can at least travel out of the country without any problems. Thanks for the help
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome.
One's greencard cannot be taken away in such a situation without a formal removal process. So USCIS/ICE/CBP cannot simply take away the greencard while one is abroad for a prior criminal record that may or may not have fallen under removalable offenses.
HOWEVER, before someone in your situation does anything or travels anywhere abroad, it would be wise to talk to an attorney face to face after showing them one's full criminal record history, just to be sure.

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