If I have been deported, can I still become a U.S. citizen?


You can be deported and still become a citizenYes, even if you were physically removed from the U.S., but you will have to wait a long time.  There are two different situations the first is if you were physically removed from the U.S. and the other is an order entered by a Judge without you present

How to get citizenship after being Physically Removed from the U.S

  1. When you are removed (deported) from the country you will be given a time period during which you are not allowed to return, usually 5, 10, or 20 years it depends on why you were removed;
  2. Someone will have to apply for you to get your green card and you will have to overcome the reason for your removal, which will make you inadmissible, unless you file a waiver; and
  3. Once you have your green card you will have to wait the appropriate time  before you can file for your citizenship through a process called naturalization.

If you were removed in absentia (that means you didn’t show up to court and a judge entered an order removing you because of your failure to appear) you may not have to wait as long.

How to get citizenship if you didn’t leave the U.S.

  1. You should first file a freedom of information act request to get your complete immigration file to determine why you were removed;
  2. Someone will have to file for you to get your green card.  You won’t be able to actually change your status to get a green card until you complete the next step;
  3. Request that the court that ordered your removal reopen the matter;
  4. File for your change of status to actually get your green card; and
  5. Once you have your green card you will have to wait the appropriate time before you can file for your citizenship through a process called naturalization.

It is a very bad idea to attempt to return to the country illegally.  Best case scenario you will be deported again and the period that you can return will be extended.  Worst case scenario, you will be charged with the federal crime of illegal re-entry and can spend years in a federal prison before being deported through expedited removal process.

Free Resources Available for You

If you face an immigration challenge we have some valuable resources for you:

  1. Do You Qualify for Legal Status?  If you aren’t legal in the U.S. you owe it to yourself to find out if you can get legal status.  Select the link, answer the questions, and find out for FREE.
  2. Do You Need an Immigration Attorney? You Might Not – I will explain when you need an immigration attorney.  Not every needs one.  I will also explain the benefits of hiring one in any immigration challenge.
  3. 7 Critical Questions to ask Before Hiring an Immigration Attorney – If you have decided that you need an immigration attorney, how do you make sure you hire a good one?  I explain to you the questions you need to ask before you hire your immigration attorney.
  4. An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court – Here I discuss what happens if you get arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement, what you need to know to get out of custody, and what to expect if you are placed in removal hearings.  I also explain the municipal court process and how a municipal court matter can result in your being placed into removal proceedings.

If you have immigration questions, we have answers.  You can,

  1. Call our knowledgeable staff at 888-695-6169;
  2. Fill out our contact us form on this page; or
  3. Select our live chat feature to speak to someone right away.

We help immigrants, one petition at a time.

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