Crimes that permanently bar naturalization

By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano


If you have been convicted of one of the following crimes, you will permanently be denied from applying for Naturalization to U.S. citizenship:

  1. Murder, or
  2. An aggravated felony (if the conviction was after November 29, 1990).

These bars are automatic. In other words, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer who interviews you and reviews your citizenship application will have no choice but to deny your application for naturalization.

Q. What are the consequences of committing murder or aggravated felony?

A. You will probably be placed into removal (deportation) proceedings once USCIS realizes that one of these crimes is on your record.

Q. What is aggravated felony?

An offense involving theft or a crime of violence is considered an aggravated felony if the term of imprisonment ordered by the court is one year or more, even if the court suspended the entire sentence.

The table below serves as a quick reference guide listing aggravated felonies in the immigration context.

“Aggravated Felonies” in the Immigration Context
Aggravated Felony Citation
Murder, Rape, or Sexual Abuse of a Minor INA 101(a)(43)(A)
Illicit Trafficking in Controlled Substance INA 101(a)(43)(B)
Illicit Trafficking in Firearms or Destructive Devices INA 101(a)(43)(C)
Money Laundering Offenses (over $10,000) INA 101(a)(43)(D)
Explosive Materials and Firearms Offenses INA 101(a)(43)(E)(i)–(iii)
Crime of Violence (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr) INA 101(a)(43)(F)
Theft Offense (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr) INA 101(a)(43)(G)
Demand for or Receipt of Ransom INA 101(a)(43)(H)
Child Pornography Offense INA 101(a)(43)(I)
Racketeering, Gambling (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr) INA 101(a)(43)(J)
Prostitution Offenses (managing, transporting, trafficking) INA 101(a)(43)(K)(i)–(iii)
Gathering or Transmitting Classified Information INA 101(a)(43)(L)(i)–(iii)
Fraud or Deceit Offenses or Tax Evasion (over $10,000) INA 101(a)(43)(M)(i), (ii)
Alien Smuggling INA 101(a)(43)(N)
Illegal Entry or Reentry by Removed Aggravated Felon INA 101(a)(43)(O)
Passport, Document Fraud (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr) INA 101(a)(43)(P)
Failure to Appear Sentence (offense punishable by at least 5 yrs) INA 101(a)(43)(Q)
Bribery, Counterfeiting, Forgery, or Trafficking in Vehicles INA 101(a)(43)(R)
Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, Bribery of Witness INA 101(a)(43)(S)
Failure to Appear to Court (offense punishable by at least 2 yrs) INA 101(a)(43)(T)
Attempt or Conspiracy to Commit an Aggravated Felony INA 101(a)(43)(U)


In State courts, resisting arrest has been found to be a crime of violence. Even driving while under the influence of alcohol is sometimes considered a crime of violence, particularly if it involves reckless or intentional behavior.

Please note that there are post conviction reliefs for some aggravated felonies.  If the sentence will be reduced, then the person may qualify for naturalization.  Our office does some post conviction relief to avoid removal proceedings and apply for naturalization

Note:   This is not a legal advice.  You should seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer about your specific circumstances.  If you have committed a crime you may seek an appointment in our office to know you options. 


  1. On November 16, 2017, we received an approval from Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for entering as single daughter of U.S. citizen but actually married.
  2. On October 25, 2017, we received an approval of I-485 adjustment of status for our client who has a DUI but has proof that he has cleared his record.
  3. On October 20, 2017, we received an approval of naturalization for a client who was granted a waiver of misrepresentation in Immigration Court.
  4. On October 16, 2017, we received from USCIS an approval for an adjustment of   status for same sex marriage, after two scheduled interviews.
  5. On October 9, 2017, we received an approval from USCIS for adjustment of   status for a client who entered as a seaman but has Sec. 245 (i) eligibility.
  6. On October 2, 2017, we received an approval of adjustment of status from USCIS   or a client who entered without inspection but has Sec. 245(i).
  7. For the week ending September 15, 2017, we received three Immigrant Visa  Approvals in U.S. Embassy Manila for three applicants who entered as seaman  under the Provisional Waiver Program.
  8. For the week ending September 8, 2017, we received four N-400 Naturalization approvals.
  9. On August 31, 2017 we received an approval of adjustment of status for a client who   problems with birth certificate which we corrected.
  10. On August 25, 2017, we received approval of I-751 removal of condition on same   sex marriage/
  11. On August 18, 2017, we received two approvals for N-400 applications.
  12. On August 16, 2017, we received an approval of I-601A provisional waiver for a   Mexican client.

If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.

Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.  He specializes in immigration law and personal injury.  For free consultation email or call ( / 1-877-456-9266)

Toll Free 1-877-4LOZANO for free consultation or Schedule an Appointment