US Citizen

How to Become a U.S. Citizen: What is Good Moral Character

If you want to become a holder of a green card, you should exemplify good moral character. GMC is a requirement when you apply for legal permanent residency in the United States. It is proof that you are a productive and law-abiding member of society.

However, how exactly can you say that you have a good moral character and, therefore, will be an upright citizen of the United States?

A Criminal Record is Not Proof of GMC

One lapse in judgment can land you behind bars that will tarnish your clean record forever. Being involved in criminal activity will not make your journey toward naturalization easier because it does not demonstrate that you have good moral character.

However, not all crimes will bar you from naturalization. The severity of the violation will be taken into consideration when the authorities decide whether to grant you a green card or not. Being charged and convicted with murder, for example, will lead to an automatic permanent rejection of your application and deportation.

Consult an experienced immigration attorney if you were involved in a crime and/or have previously spent time in prison. Some of the crimes that may bar you from becoming a citizen of the United States include habitual drunkenness, fraud, participation in illegal vice activities, participation in activities related to illegal drugs, smuggling an illegal alien, the use of a fake green card to obtain immigration benefits. Spending upwards of 180 days in jail will also be a problem when you file an application for naturalization.

For men, not registering with the U.S. Selected Service System (SSS) if you are between the ages of 18 and 25 is a requirement. It must be done within 30 days of arrival in the United States. ‘

If you have been married and then separated from your partner, the refusal to pay court-ordered alimony and child support.

Talking to a lawyer

What If You Committed a Crime?

A criminal history is not the end of the line in your journey toward naturalization. Your application will not be denied if you can wait until the statutory five years have passed since the crime was committed. If you have not been arrested and charged in the last five years, you can apply for naturalization with a clean record.

What Counts as ‘Good Moral Character’?

You do not have to be a saint for immigration officers to conclude that you have a good moral character. You only have to do two things: be honest and follow the laws.

Do not lie on the documents you submit to the immigration officers nor during the interview. Provide every detail that they ask from you. That includes whether you have been previously apprehended by law enforcement. Lying is a red flag that means you do not have good moral character and, therefore, will be denied citizenship.

Following the law will prevent you from any headache later on.

Although not a requirement, you can also submit letters from people within your community to prove that you have good moral character. Ask your employers, religious leaders, or your neighbors to vouch for you.

Proving that you have good moral character is not difficult. As a citizen, you should not be involved in a crime, whether minor or serious, anyway. You should not lie on any official documents, especially if the government is involved.

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