USCIS Updates Definition of Good Moral Character in Naturalization Requirement

In the past week, USCIS has revised the explanation of good moral character when deciding whether an individual qualifies for naturalization. While the phrase “good moral character,” of course, makes sense to many of us, the truth is, before the recent expansion, USCIS had not ultra-clearly defined the meaning of “good moral character,” leaving it somewhat ambiguous. That is why recently, USCIS has laid out a variety of criminal offenses that may render certain individuals ineligible for naturalization. If you are seeking naturalization and are found to commit any act that adversely reflects on your moral character during the statutory period of naturalization, you will most likely now be determined ineligible.

Of USCIS’s recent decision to expand and clarify the requirement of good moral character, USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans said in a statement, “In the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress determined that good moral character is a requirement for naturalization. USCIS is committed to faithfully administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, and this update helps to ensure that our agency’s adjudicators make uniform and fair decisions concerning the consideration of unlawful acts on good moral character when determining eligibility for U.S. citizenship.”

Some of the crimes that USCIS has recently deemed reflect negatively on your good moral character are as follows:

  • unlawful harassment
  • unlawful registration to vote
  • unlawful voting
  • violation of a U.S. embargo
  • insurance fraud
  • obstruction of justice
  • sexual assault
  • Social Security fraud
  • bail jumping
  • bank fraud
  • conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • failure to file or pay taxes
  • false claim to U.S. citizenship
  • falsification of records
  • forgery uttering

If you are someone who has been convicted of any of these crimes and are seeking naturalization, it is crucial you retain the services of a skilled immigration attorney who will fight for your rights.

You should also know that USCIS has released additional policy guidance regarding individuals who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol two or more times, as well as post-sentence changes to criminal sentencing. These individuals may now be rendered ineligible by failing to demonstrate good moral character.

The statutory period is usually five years long, which is why you must ensure you take good care until, and after, you take the Oath of Allegiance. If you find yourself in a situation where you are told you are ineligible, you must speak with our firm to see how we can help.

Contact our experienced Wisconsin firm

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. Our firm understands what is at stake when it comes to immigration law matters, which is why If you have any questions, you should not hesitate to contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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