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How good moral character affects immigration decisions

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Immigration And Naturalization

Going through the naturalization process in New Jersey is generally not quick nor straightforward. The government has a broad set of requirements that you must meet before becoming a United States citizen.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, you have good moral character if you meet the average standards of the residents in the community in which you live. This is one of the general naturalization requirements.

Statutory period

The government looks at your life starting five years before you apply for naturalization if you’re not married to a U.S. citizen. The statutory period is three years if your spouse is American. Authorities also consider any record you have before this period, such as arrests and convictions. If you had a combined total of five years or more incarceration, it might result in citizenship disqualification.

Proving good moral character

Many acts may temporarily or permanently ban you from becoming a citizen. Case officers take some actions on a case-by-case basis, such as the following:

  • Bank, insurance or social security fraud
  • Falsifying records and
  • Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance

Habitual drunkenness, controlled substance violations and lying under oath are typically viewed as indicators of poor moral character.

Whether you have a criminal record or not, you must show that you benefit the community. This can come in the form of volunteerism or involvement with a local religious organization. Immigration reference letters from friends, family or colleagues should address your good moral character with examples. Becoming an American citizen includes completing various forms and gathering supporting documents before filing your application.

If you receive a denial, it can put your naturalization at risk and potentially result in deportation. Understanding the requirements and completing the paperwork by specific deadlines is essential for obtaining citizenship.