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:
- 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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