Good Moral Character

Filing and Interview

Every petitioner for US naturalization must show to immigration authorities good moral character during the period of required continuous residence in the United States to qualify for citizenship. The petitioners must be able to establish GMC for the three to five years (depending on the eligibility category) immediately preceding the filing of their N-400 application and up until taking the oath of allegiance. GMC is defined as "character which measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides."

It is important to understand that throughout the period of permanent residence in the US, the petitioner who seeks naturalization must be a law-abiding resident and not violate any laws and regulations.

Even minor violations of the law can  consitute a reason for denying citizenship. The USCIS describes "good moral character" as an absence of any involvement in or conviction of an aggravated felony or federal crime, including the following:

  • Practicing polygamy
  • Willfully failing or refusing to support dependents
  • Being a habitual drunkard
  • Failing to register for Selective Service
  • Providing false information in documents
  • Tax evasion involving a government loss in excess of $10,000
  • Earning one’s principal income from gambling
  • Passport fraud offenses with a term of imprisonment of one year or greater, except for first offenses involving attempts to enable entry by a relative of the accused
  • Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor
  • Illegal drug trade
  • Firearms, destructive devices, and explosive materials offenses
  • Money laundering
  • Crimes of violence, for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
  • Theft and burglary offenses, for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
  • Crimes involving the demand for or receipt of ransom
  • Crimes involving child pornography
  • A second or subsequent gambling offense for which a one-year or greater term of imprisonment may be imposed
  • Prostitution managing and transporting offenses
  • Crimes against the government and offenses that jeopardize national security

-     Issues with previous or pending deportation
Additionally, there are several other prior activities that can disqualify a person from having a current GMC.

Furthermore, keep in mind that even if you  committed certain crimes during your travel abroad  while being an LPR, the authorities may reveal your criminal history, deny your application, or even proceed with further investigation.

However, some violations will not prevent you from be naturalized, such as:

-    Minor traffic violations, even if your license was suspended for certain violations
-    Debt to the US IRS or the Mass DOR in unpaid federal and state taxes, as long as you have an installment agreement
-    Some other minor violations


If you have ever been arrested or convicted, or involved ina crime without an arrest, you should consult with us or seek the advice of an immigration lawyer before filling an N-400 form and applying for citizenship. Even if your records were requested to be sealed, your case was dismissed, or even if you were found not guilty, you must specify the details of your arrest or conviction. You should not make false statements on the application, or you can lose your citizenship if the falsehood is eventually discovered.

If you have experienced any of the afore-mentioned episodes or even suspect a problem in your past record, please sign up for a free personal consultation with our immigration specialist accredited by the US Immigration and Citizenship Services. Your situation will be reviewed, discussed and, if necessary, the legal support of an immigration lawyer will be provided.

If your N-400 case has been already initiated, or if you or any of your family members are experiencing some issues with GMC, or in a case of emergency, please call us at 774-4IMMIGRANT or submit our contact form online.

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Fee for Filing Application for US Naturalization N 400 The US Citizenship and Immigration Service charge a fee to process your application for naturalization.
Failed US citizenship test or provided insufficient supporting documents? Here’s what to do. This text is quoted from – a complete and free guide to US Citizenship.
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If you were naturalized in the US, you may have obtained dual nationality, which means you have become a citizen of two countries simultaneously, sharing the rights and responsibilities of the citizens in each country.