If you are hoping to become a U.S. citizen, then you should probably stay away from crimes altogether, even though a traffic ticket probably won’t keep you from attaining citizenship status. There are, however, a few crimes that will either permanently or temporarily ban you from ever attaining U.S. citizenship, which means that you will also probably be deported if you are found to have committed them.
A permanent ban means that you can never become a U.S. citizen, while a temporary ban means that you must wait five years after the conviction to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Murder
An immigrant’s murder conviction will permanently bar him or her from ever attaining U.S. citizenship, regardless of the circumstances surrounding said crime. This rule covers all degrees of murder, and if you apply for citizenship with a murder conviction under your belt, you will automatically be scheduled for deportation.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Aggravated Felonies
An aggravated felony can be a number of things, as the courts can classify different crimes as “aggravated”, which means that it contains some level of violence or malicious intent. An aggravated felony might be assault, rape, statutory rape, drunk driving, drug or firearm trafficking, child pornography, or facilitating prostitution. An aggravated felony, if committed since November 29, 1990, will permanently ban an immigrant from U.S. citizenship.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Commercial Vice Enterprises
Owning or operating in a commercial vice enterprise (i.e. selling pornography, prostitution) will result in a temporary suspension of your ability to become a U.S. citizen.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Illegal Vice Activities
The last crime involves soliciting, selling or operating a vice activity, while this crime involves paying for the above. If you hire a prostitute or a call girl, or if you purchase any other related service, then you will earn a temporary ban on U.S. citizenship.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Crimes of Moral Turpitude
A crime of moral turpitude is any crime that reflects your moral character, such as fraud. Fraud in excess of $10,000 will earn a permanent ban from U.S. citizenship, while lesser crimes may result in only a temporary ban.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Prison Sentences
If you are remanded to a jail or prison for more than six months (180 days), then you will earn a temporary ban on U.S. citizenship. This usually refers to six consecutive months (one after the other), but your application for citizenship can be denied even if you have spent more than a total of 180 days in prison spread over five years.
Crimes You Can’t Commit: Drugs
Crimes involving more than 30 grams of marijuana will result in a temporary ban against citizenship. This can include buying, trafficking, facilitating or possession.