U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expanded its policy guidance
regarding unlawful acts that may prevent an applicant from meeting the Good Moral
Character (GMC) requirement for naturalization.
The commission of, or conviction or imprisonment for, an unlawful act, during the statutory
period for naturalization, may render an applicant ineligible for naturalization should the act be
found to adversely reflect on moral character.
Multiple DUI Convictions and Post-Sentencing Changes On Dec. 10, 2019, USCIS issued separate policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual about how two or more convictions for driving under the influence or post-sentencing changes to criminal sentencing might affect GMC determinations.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) describes certain acts that bar establishing GMC of
an applicant. Examples of unlawful acts recognized by case law as barring GMC include,
but are not limited to, the following:
- Bail jumping;
- Bank fraud;
- Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance;
- Failure to claim U.S. citizenship;
- Falsification of records;
- Forgery uttering;
- Insurance fraud;
- Obstruction of justice;
- Sexual assault;
- Social Security fraud;
- Unlawful harassment;
- Unlawful registration to vote;
- Unlawful voting; and
- Violation of a U.S. embargo.
In general, applicants must show they have been, and continue to be, people of GMC during the
statutory period before filing for naturalization and up until they take the Oath of Allegiance.
The statutory period is generally:
- 5 years for permanent residents of the United States
- 3 years for applicants married to a U.S. citizen
- 1 year for certain applicants applying on the basis of qualifying U.S. military service.