What is the Impact of Having Been Arrested if Applying for Citizenship?

Aggie Hoffman

In applying for US citizenship, how much impact on the success of the application when answering "yes" to getting arrested? The arrest happened as a juvenile (16 years old) for criminal damage of property/trespass. The incident happened over 20 years ago, since then there has been no adult criminal record. Should this incident be reported in the application under the section "Good Moral Character"? Or should it just be omitted since it is not an adult record? Additionally, the incident took place in a state that is not the current state of residency in the past 5 years. The outcome was community service time.

I believe juvenile records are sealed and are not accessible. Since the offense occurred over 20 yrs ago, when you were a minor, the records may even have been destroyed. It should not stand in the way of a finding of good moral character for naturalization purposes. I believe the answer as to the arrest should still be “yes,” in order to be truthful, but you should consult a knowledgeable criminal law attorney as well.

Have your own question similar to this one? Send a question to our Los Angeles offices and one of our specialists will contact you with an answer.
Bookmark the permalink.