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Pricey Sophie: Ought to I apply for citizenship if I’ve a conviction? – TechCrunch

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Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how corporations.

“Your questions are very important to the unfold of information that enables folks all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

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Further Crunch members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Pricey Sophie,

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At Burning Man a couple of years in the past, I used to be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana in public (in my automotive) and driving underneath the affect.

I at present have a inexperienced card and need to apply for U.S. citizenship subsequent yr.

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Can I? In that case, how ought to I deal with my legal file?

— Remorseful Concerning the Reefer

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Pricey Remorseful,

As you’ve found, you need to be further cautious while you’re an immigrant: Clearly, you need to by no means break the regulation, however as an immigrant, should you do, it could have extreme and lasting penalties.

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You even must be cautious to keep away from doing issues that an immigration officer would possibly think about to be exterior the bounds of excellent ethical character, even when they don’t seem to be crimes. All immigrants ought to do not forget that though restricted use of marijuana for leisure and medical makes use of is authorized in a number of states, it’s illegal under federal law.

My regulation accomplice, Anita Koumriqian, lately podcasted on how varied crimes can influence your inexperienced card standing and have an effect on your skill to develop into a U.S. citizen. Take a pay attention and (all the time on this state of affairs) seek the advice of an skilled immigration lawyer. Inform your lawyer about your DUI and marijuana prices, any subsequent marijuana use, another arrests or citations, and even stuff you would possibly think about minor corresponding to rushing, parking or jaywalking tickets. An immigration lawyer can decide whether or not you need to proceed with making use of for U.S. citizenship and in that case, when and the way to take action.

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A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

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What is nice ethical character?

As you understand, you have to be a everlasting resident (inexperienced card holder) for no less than 5 years — or three years in case you have a inexperienced card by way of marriage — to be eligible to use for U.S. citizenship. Moreover, you need to reveal “good ethical character” in the course of the five- or three-year statutory interval.

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