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I have a shoplifting offense committed in the town of Rockaway, New Jersey that is considered as a disorderly conduct due to the amount of the theft (~$80). The event happened in August 2013. My green card expires on June 2017 and I am looking to apply for my citizenship this year. Aside from this, my record is clean. I have been shopping around for lawyers for the past month and unfortunately, found it way too out of my range :( From the research I've done and consultations with a few lawyers, I've gathered the following materials to add with my application:
1. A copy of the statute that dictates that my offense was a disorderly conduct - hence is not a question of moral turpitude
2. Reference letters from both personal and professional relationships

I am wondering if I can move forward with this application on my own or if I should try to gather some money to get a good lawyer. Has anyone here had any experiences similar to mine or know of an instance where a person did not use a lawyer and still passed their application process?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by ram0201
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Hi Ram0201, here's a chapter from USCIS regarding Good Moral Character for citizenship: https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume12-PartF-Chapter5.html#footnote-1

 

What I understand from what I read in the above link and what other members have reported here , it's risky applying for citizenship when you have shoplifting in your record. Immigration has its own sets of laws regardless of what statutes say. Based on the above link, shoplifting falls under Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT). So I strongly suggest you first consult an immigration attorney to see if this is a bridge you can even cross and if your attorney can come up with a solid argument that shoplifting in your case isn't a CIMT. Otherwise I'd suggest you wait the statutory period (5 years) from August 2013. Good luck!

 

~Moving thread from Case Filing & Progress to US Citizenship General Discussion since OP's question pertains to eligibility and has not filed for citizenship yet~

Edited by CookieCat

 

 



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05/01/2013: (L) Married (L)

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07/09/2013: AOS package (I-130/I-485/I-756/I-131) fedexed
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Day 00 - 12/04/2015: Mailed I-751 package to CSC via USPS Priority Mail
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Day 22 - 12/26/2015: Biometric appointment notice received dated 12/19/15
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Day 235 - 07/26/2016: Approved (E-notification of Card Production)

Day 238 - 07/29/2016: Status changed to 'Card Was Mailed to Me'

Day 241 - 08/01/2016: CSC returned original docs that were submitted at the time of application.

Day 241 - 08/01/2016: New status update 'Card was picked up by the United States Postal Service' Priority Mail 2-Day with tracking number provided.

Day 243 - 08/03/2016: Received 10 year Green Card

Day 255 - 08/15/2016: Received NOA2 with approval dated 07/26/2016

Click here for a sample of my cover letter, list of evidence, package assembly & shipping box

Click here for a sample of my I-751 notarized affidavit from a friend

 

 

N-400 Naturalization:

12/03/2016: Eligible

Day 00: 12/12/2016 Mailed N-400 to Phoenix, AZ lockbox via USPS Priority Express

Day 01: 12/13/2016 N-400 application delivered

Day 03: 12/15/2016 Credit card charged

Day 07: 12/19/2016 Text & e-mail notification received with a NBC receipt #

Day 11: 12/23/2016 NOA received via mail with priority date 12/13/16

Day 16: 12/28/2016 Received E-mail notification reg. biometrics scheduling

Day 19: 12/31/2016 Received Biometric notice via mail with notice date 12/24/2016

Day 32: 01/13/2017 Biometric appointment

Day 53: 02/03/2017 Received e-mail notification stating I am "in line" for interview scheduling

Day 144: 05/05/2017 Filed an e-request that interview notice was not yet mailed to me

Day 148: 05/09/2017 Received e-mail notification that interview has been scheduled after being in line for 95 days

Day 151: 05/12/2017 Received N-400 Interview notice via USPS

Day 183: 06/13/2017 N-400 Interview at USCIS Milwaukee, WI field office (Approved!) ***To read about my interview experience, click here***

Day 192: 06/22/2017 Received e-mail notification stating I am placed in line for oath ceremony

Day 206: 07/06/2017 Received e-mail notification stating oath ceremony notice was mailed

Day 210: 07/10/2017 Received oath ceremony notice (N-445) via USPS

Day 227: 07/27/2017 Oath Ceremony at Milwaukee, WI!

Dual citizen (France & U.S.A) / OCI card holder

 

Day 00: 07/27/2017 U.S. passport application at Milwaukee, WI (routine processing)

Day 05: 08/01/2017 Passport application locator number provided

Day 06: 08/02/2017 Checks cashed

Day 12: 08/08/2017 Received 2 e-mails stating that passport processing is over and it has been mailed with tracking # provided

Day 15: 08/11/2017 Received passport book via Priority Mail

Day 18: 08/14/2017 Received passport card via First Class Mail

Day 22: 08/18/2017 Received naturalization certificate back via Priority Mail / Updated citizenship status with SSA
 

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2 hours ago, CookieCat said:

Hi Ram0201, here's a chapter from USCIS regarding Good Moral Character for citizenship: https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume12-PartF-Chapter5.html#footnote-1

 

What I understand from what I read in the above link and what other members have reported here , it's risky applying for citizenship when you have shoplifting in your record. Immigration has its own sets of laws regardless of what statutes say. Based on the above link, shoplifting falls under Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT). So I strongly suggest you first consult an immigration attorney to see if this is a bridge you can even cross and if your attorney can come up with a solid argument that shoplifting in your case isn't a CIMT. Otherwise I'd suggest you wait the statutory period (5 years) from August 2013. Good luck!

 

~Moving thread from Case Filing & Progress to US Citizenship General Discussion since OP's question pertains to eligibility and has not filed for citizenship yet~

Hi CookieCat, thanks for your response!

 

From what I read on the link above, it indicated that petty theft can be an exception to CIMT if..

The “petty offense” is the only CIMT the applicant has ever committed;

The sentence imposed for the offense was six months or less; and

The maximum possible sentence for the offense does not exceed one year. 

 

Which actually all apply to my case. I've consulted a few immigration lawyers regarding the matter and they've told me that the offense should not be grounds for not ineligibility. So in this case, do you think I can move forward on my own?

 

As a side note, if I do wait for the 5 years and apply in 2018 - what will happen to my status then? From my understanding, my status as a permanent resident does not expire after 10 years but the green card does? 

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15 hours ago, ram0201 said:

 

Shoplifting is a a crime of moral turpitude. Dependent on the individual adjudicator and/or the USCIS director for your interviewing office, it may pose an issue with your naturalization. There is no statute of limitation when it comes to asnwering questions on the N400 where it asks if you have ever committed a crime and have been convicted of any crime. So, 40 years can pass, but you'd still have to answer "yes" to that question.

 

There are lots of people who remain LPRs and never commit to naturalization because of their record. They are LPRs for life.  Greencards expire, but your LPR doesn't. However, LPRs are subject to deportation. USCs are not.

 

I would go with a lawyer.


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The thing is it's so fresh they could deny you on the ground of not good moral Character.  

Personally I would wait till 2018, then do it on my own. 

 

If you really want it done this year I'd consult a few more attorneys first. It's a lot of money to be out if you get denied. 


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2 hours ago, Tom_Jim said:

Shoplifting is a a crime of moral turpitude. Dependent on the individual adjudicator and/or the USCIS director for your interviewing office, it may pose an issue with your naturalization. There is no statute of limitation when it comes to asnwering questions on the N400 where it asks if you have ever committed a crime and have been convicted of any crime. So, 40 years can pass, but you'd still have to answer "yes" to that question.

 

There are lots of people who remain LPRs and never commit to naturalization because of their record. They are LPRs for life.  Greencards expire, but your LPR doesn't. However, LPRs are subject to deportation. USCs are not.

 

I would go with a lawyer.

Might be a stupid question, but how would I travel outside of the country when my greencard expires this year? Do I need to do a renewal?

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On 1/10/2017 at 6:16 PM, ram0201 said:

Might be a stupid question, but how would I travel outside of the country when my greencard expires this year? Do I need to do a renewal?

Probably. But not sure. 


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