The U.S. is a country formed off the backs of those from countless cultures and regions of the world, earning it the description of “melting pot.” The American Immigration Council reported that immigrants composed 14% of the nation’s population in 2018. According to the Department of Homeland statistics, there were almost 850,000 naturalizations in 2019.
If you are looking to join the number of naturalized citizens in the U.S., you may have questions. For instance, you may wonder if your financial status affects your chances of obtaining citizenship.
Unemployment and bankruptcy
The law does not bar immigrants who do not currently have a job or who are in the process of or have a history of bankruptcy from seeking naturalization. The only area in which these might constitute an issue is in the determination of whether or not you are an individual of “good moral character.” Neither bankruptcy nor unemployment automatically disqualifies you as not possessing a “good moral character,” but assessment is subjective.
Having debt does not render you ineligible for naturalization by itself, though it may affect if you meet the “good moral character” criteria. The exception is tax debt. If you failed to pay taxes, this generally results in rejection. You need to pay them or develop a repayment plan to avoid denial of your application. Evidence of such an effort is often enough to establish “good moral character.”
As long as you received them lawfully, being a recipient of government assistance does not generally prevent you from acquiring citizenship. If the government overpaid you and you did not pay them back, this is grounds to deny your naturalization.
Your financial situation does not usually keep you from becoming a citizen as long as you avoid lying, pay your taxes and obey the law.