Immigration Attorneys | Immigration Lawyer



Phone | 575-308-0308 1990 E. Lohman | Las Cruces


Citizenship by Naturalization

Naturalization is the process where a person from another country can become a U.S. Citizen under the rules in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Law of Office W. Shane Jennings is experienced with immigration and can help guide in your naturalization desires.

  • You must be eligible to get your citizenship through naturalization.

I am eligible to naturalize?

Generally you must be:

  1. Be age 18 or older; and

  2. Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years or 3 years, depending on how you obtained status); and

  3. Be a person of good moral character; and

  4. Have a basic knowledge of U.S. government (this, too, can be excepted due to permanent physical or mental impairment); and

  5. Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and

  6. Be able to read, write, and speak basic English. There are exceptions to this rule for someone who at the time of filing: - Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or - Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or - Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements.

Can an immigration lawyer help me if I have a criminal record or felonies?

Yes. You should visit an immigration lawyer if you have ever been arrested. Talk to an experienced immigration lawyer before you begin naturalization. Don’t go this one alone. A typical immigration lawyer may not be able to answer the complex questions of state criminal law and immigration. You need an immigration lawyer with a strong criminal defense history. This immigration law firm's immigration lawyer and criminal defense lawyer will need to look at a few things to decide if you should apply:

  • The statutory period.

  • Good moral character.

  • What criminal record might keep you from having good moral character.

  • Criminal offenses outside the statutory period.

  • Character rehabilitation.

The statutory period.

A period of time between 3 and 5 years before you begin naturalization.

The 3 to 5 year statutory period is basic eligibility. If you have a criminal record during the statutory then you will need to bring your entire criminal record into the immigration lawyer. Especially if your criminal record is felonies or aggravated. Your case is different from every other case. If you committed a crime come in for a free consultation.

Good moral character.

What is good moral character?

You must prove good moral character during the statutory period. Good moral character begins with being honest. You have to be honest to your immigration lawyer about your criminal record. You have to tell me everything. Then I will tell immigration at United States Customs and Immigration everything. It all depends on you. If you do not tell the truth then you will be denied.

You will also need to have the complete criminal record. This is another place where you want to use a criminal defense attorney who is an immigration lawyer. Collecting the right criminal record is an important step. We want to look honest and get the right criminal record to USCIS. Then we want to present it the right way. Having your immigration lawyer with you at your interview is important.


What criminal record might keep you from having good moral character.

Aggravated Felony

A person convicted of an aggravated felony offense is permanently barred form establishing good moral character. An exception applies to this and depends on the facts. Each case is different.

Firearms Offenses

A firearms offense does not prevent a person from naturalization because it is not moral character. Aggravated felonies always apply. If it is a firearms conviction and an aggravated felony then it is a bar. Also, when the application is made, it is possible that USCIS will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) and begin removal proceedings and possibly mandatory detention. How long ago the conviction happened does not matter.

Money Laundering

Money Laundering is not a crime of moral turpitude for naturalization purposes most of the time. If it was an aggravated felony, then USCIS may have DHS send an NTA letter and begin removal proceedings. This type of crime is subject to mandatory detention while waiting for the court.

Domestic Violence Conviction

Domestic violence crimes may be considered crimes of moral turpitude and be a question of good moral character. Crimes related to this may or may not be good moral character problems. Some of the crimes related to domestic violence are violation of a restraining order and battery. This type of criminal record could make a lawful permanent resident not eligible for naturalization temporarily.

Controlled Substance Conviction

Conviction for a controlled substance offense means you are inadmissible. Even if you admit or there is “reason to believe” you are involved in drug trafficking then that may be enough. That means you may be denied naturalization. There is an exception for personal use of small amounts of marijuana.