Applying for citizenship in the United States can be a difficult process no matter the circumstances. When you’re trying to become a temporary or permanent US resident, you’ll need to behave like a model citizen since all of your actions will be under scrutiny during the lengthy process. Once a citizenship applicant is determined to be a criminal, their residency status is automatically at risk. If you commit a crime as a non-citizen, you might wonder what will happen. To learn more, read this blog or reach out to a Criminal Issues Immigration Lawyer in NYC today!


If you are convicted of any crime of any degree, your immigration status is definitely at risk. Crimes that are considered aggravated felonies or crimes of “moral turpitude” will likely get you deported from the United States as soon as possible. Examples of these types of crimes include:

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Theft and robbery with a prison sentence of at least a year
  • Drug or firearms trafficking
  • Child pornography
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Arson
  • Money laundering, fraud, or tax evasion of more than $10,000
  • Perjury with a prison sentence of at least a year
  • Aggravated assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Treason
  • Domestic violence

Crimes of moral turpitude will also affect your residency status if you’ve already gotten a green card. You could get deported if you commit one of these within the first five years of your time in the United States. If you commit two crimes of moral turpitude, you can be deported regardless of immigration status.

Drug crimes are also taken very seriously by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Even minor drug offenses can lead to your green card application being denied or your green card status being taken away.


Some minor offenses won’t get you deported. Any offense that is considered a “petty crime” in New York courts is an exception to completely altering your immigration status. Examples of petty crimes include shoplifting and traffic violations. However, as soon as you are charged with any crime, you should immediately contact an immigration law attorney. The last thing you want is an offense to affect your ability to stay in the United States.

Are you a non-citizen who has recently been charged with a crime? Are you looking for a trusted immigration lawyer who has your best interests in mind? Look no further because the Law Offices of Cheryl R. David is here to fight for you! Contact our highly experienced team today for an initial consultation.