Good Moral Character

Good Moral Character explained:

Good Moral Character is a very dominant factor in the determination of one’s application.  Unfortunately, the rule is unclear to most and not understandable to those without immigration experience.

**We highly recommend that you have an attorney review your case if you think there may be some activity that could disqualify your application.

Good Moral Character has been interpreted as character that measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides and thus does not necessarily require the highest degree of moral excellence. (USCIS Interpretation 316.1(e)(1)

Time of Good moral character: Normally when determining the applicant s recommendation on the basis of good moral character, the USCIS examiner will look at the five years immediately preceding the filing of the application.3 years for those married to US citizen.However, the USCIS examiner can look into acts prior to the 5 years if the acts may affect present moral character or that thereas not been a reform of character.

Statutory list of bases for finding lack of moral character:

Proscribed in the INA §101(f) is listed activities which result in finding a lack of good moral character. The list consist of:

· Habitual drunkards

· Persons who have been incarcerated for more that a 180 days

· Persons with gambling-related issues

· Persons who have given false testimonies

· Persons who have committed aggravated felonies

· Groups of persons classified under INA §2129(a)

8CFR §316.10

8CFR §316.10 list the following acts as lacking good moral character and thus disqualify applicants from naturalization.

Criminal activities listed:

· Conviction of murder

· Any conviction of an aggravated felony after November 29, 1990 as specified in INA §101(a)(43). Please see list at

Moral considerations: 8CFR §316.10 also provides that outside of applicant “establishing extenuating circumstances”, the applicant will be found to be lacking good moral character if during the statutory period the applicant:

· Willfully failed to or refused to support dependants.

· Adultery/incest/prostitution/disregard of sexual morality prong (please consult an attorney for details, or view the rule.

· Committed any unlawful acts that adversely reflect upon the applicant’s moral character, whether or not there was a conviction or imprisonment.