USCIS Expands Guidance on ‘Good Moral Character’ Determinations for Naturalization

January 14, 2020 | United States of America

Recently, USCIS expanded its policy guidance on unlawful acts. The updated policy guidance elaborates on the unlawful acts that may disqualify an applicant from meeting good moral character (GMC) standards for naturalization.

The updated GMC guidance, issued by USCIS on December 13, 2019, provides more examples of unlawful conduct that might impact an applicant’s ability to meet GMC qualifications for naturalization established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The new policy guidelines follow an update in the USCIS Policy Manual on December 10, 2019 stating that multiple DUI convictions or post-sentencing changes to criminal sentencing may affect GMC qualifications.

Typically, applicants must demonstrate five years’ worth of Good Moral Character behavior to be eligible for naturalization. Individuals married to a U.S. citizen must show three years’ worth of GMC. Individuals applying for certain U.S. military services must demonstrate GMC for one year. However, USCIS adjudicators will continue reviewing applications on a case-by-case basis to determine GMC qualifications.