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Voting Before Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Becoming a U.S. Citizen comes with certain rights and responsibilities that are not afforded to Lawful Permanent Residents or other non-citizens of the United States.  The most significant right and responsibility is the right to vote in U.S. elections.  Only United States citizens are eligible to vote and it is a crime to knowingly register for and/or vote in an election when you are not a United States citizen.  It is not only a crime, but it is an offense that may get you removed or deported from the United States.  Voting before you become a U.S. Citizen can also prevent you from ever becoming a U.S. Citizen.

There are some exceptions for individuals who unknowingly registered to vote or voted in an election.  If you were obtaining a driver’s license or other DMV document, or obtaining public benefits such as food stamps, and you were unknowingly registered to vote through that process, you may still be eligible for naturalization. If your parents are United States citizens, you lived in the United States permanently prior to the age of 16, and you reasonably believed at the time that you voted or otherwise claimed to be a United States citizen that you were indeed a United States citizen, then you may also be eligible for naturalization.

If you would like to discuss your particular naturalization concerns in greater detail, call Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.