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USCIS Updates Naturalization Requirement of Good Moral Character

Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Sevices has expanded and elaborated on the meaning of “good moral character” in terms of naturalization. Before the expansion, the phrase “good moral character “ was somewhat vague; though most people know what good moral character is, the exact definition may differ slightly from person to person. For this reason, USCIS addressed various specific offenses that may disqualify certain individuals from obtaining U.S. citizenship. If an individual is found to commit an act that adversely reflects on his or her moral character during the statutory period for naturalization, he or she may become ineligible.

Of the decision to update and specify the meaning of “good moral character,” USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans said, “In the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress determined that good moral character is a requirement for naturalization. USCIS is committed to faithfully administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, and this update helps to ensure that our agency’s adjudicators make uniform and fair decisions concerning the consideration of unlawful acts on good moral character when determining eligibility for U.S. citizenship.”

Some examples of unlawful acts that may render individuals ineligible for U.C. citizenship can include any of the following:

  • unlawful harassment
  • unlawful registration to vote
  • unlawful voting
  • violation of a U.S. embargo
  • bail jumping
  • bank fraud
  • conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • failure to file or pay taxes
  • false claim to U.S. citizenship
  • falsification of records
  • forgery uttering
  • insurance fraud
  • obstruction of justice
  • sexual assault
  • Social Security fraud

If you have been convicted of any of these crimes, though you still believe you qualify for naturalization, you must not hesitate to speak with our experienced New Jersey immigration firm.

USCIS has recently issued additional policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding how two or more conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or post-sentencing changes to criminal sentencing may affect whether you are of “good moral character,” and, therefore, whether you qualify for naturalization.

Generally, the statutory period is about five years long. For the duration of this period of time, you will have to ensure you demonstrate “good moral character” up until you take your Oath of Allegiance–and, of course, for all your time here thereafter. If, however, you do anything to render yourself ineligible, you must reach out to our immigration firm and see how we can help.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

We understand how much is on the line when clients face matters related to immigration. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for matters regarding immigration, please contact the Law Offices of Salvatore A. Falletta, LLC and we would be happy to provide you with assistance. Our firm is located in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.