Featured News 2016 Can Non-U.S. Citizens Vote in Elections?

Can Non-U.S. Citizens Vote in Elections?

Each year, millions of immigrants move to the United States with the intention of making the U.S. their forever home. Moving to another country is a big move, but it's understandable since the U.S. is the "land of the free" and the one place where anyone can pursue the great American Dream so long as they are of good moral character and productive citizens.

In recent years, immigration has been a hot topic among legislatures and politicians and as the heat turns up, more and more immigrants want to make sure their voice is heard at the voting booths. Immigrants across the country want to know, "Can I vote in an election if I am an immigrant?"

What the Law Says About Immigrants and Voting

Can an immigrant vote in a U.S. election, such as a presidential election? It all depends on the immigrant's immigration status. For example, if an immigrant has taken all the steps to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, then he or she has the same voting privileges as someone who was born in the U.S. However, before a naturalized U.S. citizen can vote in an election, they first must meet these qualifications:

  • They must be a citizen of the United States,
  • They must meet the residency requirements to vote in a particular state,
  • They must be at least 18 years of age or older,
  • They cannot be convicted of a disqualifying felony, unless they had their civil rights restored through the courts, and
  • A court must not have legally declared them "mentally incompetent."

All of the requirements listed above apply to all U.S. citizens, not just naturalized U.S. citizens. No one in the U.S. can vote if they are under the age of 18, and people who've been found guilty of certain felonies cannot vote until they earn their voting rights back by having their civil rights restored.

Can green card holders vote?

If you are a green card holder, you cannot vote in any elections that are restricted to U.S. citizens, but you may be allowed to vote in local and state elections, it depends on the requirements for voting.

If you are NOT a U.S. citizen, you cannot legally vote in a presidential election. If you do, you can face serious consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, and even deportation. Before you vote in any election, we suggest that you read the requirements very carefully.

If you're interested in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, contact an immigration attorney for the guidance you need!

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