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Good Moral Character | NJ Naturalization Attorney

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2016 | Citizenship and Naturalization, Video Transcripts |

Check out our latest video on Youtube on the concept of Good Moral Character (“GMC”).  Some people are often surprised to learn that GMC does not only mean not having an arrest record.  GMC is a very broad, expansive term that can change depending on the context.  Here’s the transcript:

Within an immigration context, Good Moral Character is a very important concept. It can potentially arise in a number of situations including applying for a green card, applying for naturalization, or even forms of discretionary relief before an Immigration Judge. The USCIS policy manual defines Good Moral Character as “character which measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.” In simple terms, it means proving that you are a good person. Practically speaking, demonstrating good moral character is not always so simple, even if you are a good person. There are many automatic bars found in the Immigration and Nationality Act that can disqualify an individual from making such a showing. Some bars are conditional and some bars are permanent. Some bars are by statute, and some bars are discretionary–meaning, in other words, that the officer or Judge can exercise some judgment in making a good moral character determination. Conviction of certain crimes, especially crimes involving moral turpitude, will almost always affect a good moral character issue. Other issues that almost certainly will raise red flags include:

  • Any drug convictions
  • Prostitution
  • False testimony
  • Habitual alcohol use

But there are other things that people don’t think about that can raise good moral character issues such as

  • Claiming to be a US Citizen
  • Failing to pay taxes
  • Willful failure to pay child support
  • Adultery
  • the commission of unlawful acts even if there was no conviction

Good moral character is very fact and case sensitive and it depends in which context it must be shown. The Law Office of Lee and Garasia, LLC, has over 15 years of deep experience in this field and can help you access whether certain conduct or circumstances will trigger an issue with good moral character. For more information, contact the firm now.