Everyone makes mistakes. This truth is as constant as gravity and almost as powerful. Sometimes our mistakes make little to no impact on our lives and other times our mistakes have the power to change our lives completely. For someone seeking citizenship, it can be quite scary to think about how the mistake to drink and drive could change their future. It is very common for people in this position to worry about how criminal charges may affect their naturalization. So can a DUI actually stop an individual’s request for citizenship? Maybe.

Although the crime of driving under the influence can’t completely halt the naturalization process, it does definitely work against you. Part of becoming a U.S. citizen is to uphold the good moral character the government wants for all its residents. Having a criminal background or repeated charges of something like DUI speaks volumes about your character and respect, or lack of, for the law.

If you already have a DUI charge, all hope is not lost. Citizenship can still be granted, it just may take a bit more work. To show you don’t have a problem with alcohol or obeying the law, you may need to prove your sobriety. When applying for naturalization, you might want to include affidavits from those closest to you. Ask friends, family members, and even co-workers if they would support your citizenship by confirming that you no longer have an issue with alcohol. Although it may be difficult to ask for this help, you might be surprised how supportive your friends and family may be.

For most individuals seeking naturalization, it is one of the biggest events in their lives. Not being a citizen doesn’t change the fact that we are all human, and all make mistakes. With a few additional steps and maybe the help of an attorney, a DUI does not have to be the end of your road to naturalization.