Immigration Blog

April 22, 2021

Good Moral Character For Citizenship Applications

Good Moral Character

USCIS requires any citizenship applicant to have at least five years of good moral character, or three years if the petitioner is currently married and living with a USC spouse. Such good moral character will need to be maintained throughout the time the application is pending and being processed, to the oath of allegiance. It is worth mentioning that the immigration officer may take into account acts or actions previous to the five- or three-years period, if they think it may relate to the applicant’s current consideration for good moral character.

Having a criminal record may impact the decision on a Naturalization process, regardless of the outcome, and in some cases, there may even be a risk of deportation. Additionally, the applicant may not be on probation or parole at the time the application is submitted with USCIS.

Almost all males in between the ages if 18 and 26 must register for the selective service, including undocumented individuals. If this registration didn’t take place within the previous three or five years to the submission of the citizenship application, this may result on its denial. Furthermore, if the client never registered, they must wait five years after they turned 26 years of age to apply, and they must submit a statement including the reasons why the registration didn’t take place on time.

Lastly, it is considered a deportable action to claim U.S. citizenship or vote on federal or state elections. Our office has had clients in the past be wrongfully registered to vote by school workers or DMV officials, due to assumptions made based on the person’s proficiency on the English language, etc.

It is important to have a thorough, precise and factual application submitted with USCIS, as the immigration officer will be basing their determination for good moral character on the statements and answers provided on the application, as well as the individual’s testimony at the interview. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. 

We strongly advise seeking the help of an experienced immigration attorney for this matter.  

Contact Bailey Immigration for free phone consultations, and for help with filing your Naturalization Application at (866) 521-6422.