Good Moral Character Requirement for Naturalization
It is well known that the United States permits citizens of foreign counties to obtain US citizenship through the legal naturalization process. To become a US citizen through this process, you will have to prove that you meet few naturalization requirements. There are several requirements and one of the most important requirements is that you need to be a person with good moral character. There are few different ways through which you can prove that you have maintained good moral character. However, if you have committed crimes, you may not be able to prove that you have a good moral character. According to the US immigration laws, a Green Card holder who is applying for US citizenship must be an individual of “good moral character” and the USCIS will investigate about your past and present activities, after you file an application for US citizenship, prior to approving your naturalization application.
The immigration officers may ascertain that you do not have good moral character, if you were convicted of serious crimes. If you have been an habitual drunkard or if you were convicted of drunk diving, you cannot apply for US citizenship. If you were convicted of prostitution, human trafficking or if you have committed terrorist acts, your naturalization application may not be accepted. The immigration officers will determine that you are ineligible for US citizenship, if you were imprisoned for 180 days or more. Likewise, two or more gambling offenses may also make you ineligible for US citizenship. People who have lied to immigration officers in order to gain immigration benefits, cannot apply for US citizenship. These crimes will prevent you from applying for US citizenship for around five years from the date of committing such crimes but there are few crimes that would result in permanent bars to naturalization.
The above are few things that might show lack of good moral character and there are few crimes that would permanently make you ineligible for US citizenship. Aggravated felonies, such as armed bank robbery, sexual abuse of a child, rape, drug trafficking, bribery and murder, will make you permanently ineligible for US citizenship and you may never be able to establish that you have good moral character and that you are eligible for US citizenship, if you have committed such aggravated felonies. However, you will have to report all the crimes that you have committed, at the time of applying for naturalization, even if the crimes were removed from your record. Your citizenship application will be denied, if you fail to inform the USCIS officers about the crimes.
Generally, the USCIS officers will review your record and the statements that you have provided in your naturalization application. Likewise, there must not be any discrepancy between what you have mentioned in your naturalization application and the oral testimony that you provide during your naturalization interview. Hence, you need to be honest and a less serious crime may also lead to the denial of your application if you try to hide it and if you lie to the immigration officers.