Cape Canaveral, FL asked in Immigration Law and Military Law for Florida

Q: Will my naturalization be denied due to breaking the law when I was under 18? Can I reapply if I join the military?

I have recently applied for naturalization and have been a green card holder for 11 years. When I was 14 I was caught shoplifting and did a diversion program which led to my charges to be dismissed. When I was 16 I was falsely arrested for battery on a police officer which is a felony. We fought the case in court and the charge was dismissed by "Nolle prosequi". I am currently 19 years old and have just now discovered that it's recommended to wait atleast 5 years to apply for citizenship after you have been arrested. Will I be denied if the last case was 3 years ago but was dropped?

If I do get denied, do I have to wait another 5 years to apply again if I join the army? Or can I join the army and apply again in one year? Thank you very much.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Hector E. Quiroga
Hector E. Quiroga
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: Thank you for your question.

You need to consult with an immigration attorney, but it sounds like the charges were dropped. Without knowing all the details in the case, however, it is really hard to tell what the impact on your application would be. It is likely that it would have none, because of the decision not to prosecute; however, depending on the circumstances, an adjudicator could determine that you have not shown yourself to be a person of good moral character for the five years immediately preceding your application for citizenship. If your application is denied, you don’t need to wait an additional five years, just five years beyond the commission of the action identified as evidence of your failure to show GMC.

Certain talk with an army recruiter if you are thinking of joining the military.

There have historically been pathways to citizenship through the military.

I hope this helps!

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