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What are some common obstacles to citizenship?

For immigrants in the Miami area who are embarking on the road to citizenship, the application process can seem complex and intimidating. There are some issues that can jeopardize one's chances of attaining citizenship. It is useful to know what these potential obstacles are, so that one can develop a legal strategy to overcome them if necessary.

A criminal record is one of the most serious problems a citizenship applicant may have to deal with. Certain serious crimes will make a person ineligible for citizenship. Less serious offenses on one's record may delay naturalization for a period of time after the offense was committed.

Lying in the naturalization interview or on the naturalization application, if discovered, will generally result in a denial of citizenship. A person who has something in their past that the person thinks may present a problem would be wise to discuss it with an immigration lawyer beforehand. A lawyer may be able to help the person present the information in a truthful way that will preserve their chances of becoming a citizen.

A person who owes back taxes to the U.S. government may be denied citizenship. However, if people can show they have entered into a payment plan or are otherwise trying to resolve the issue, they may still be able to become a citizen. It is best to try to resolve any outstanding tax issues before applying for citizenship.

Attaining U.S. citizenship is the goal of many people who come to the U.S. Understanding the process and the potential pitfalls is critical to a successful application. An experienced immigration lawyer can help an applicant ensure that one of these obstacles does not permanently derail their hopes.

Source: Findlaw.com, "4 Issues That Will Affect Your U.S. Citizenship Application," accessed Feb. 22, 2016

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