Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 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, (three or five years) may render an applicant ineligible for naturalization should the act be found to adversely reflect on moral character.  This change gives the officer more discretion than before to examine arrests or citations, tax returns filed, social security and public benefit issues, misrepresentation or falsification of records, and many other acts. 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.

Remember, applying for citizenship means that immigration will examine a person’s entire history in the United States. The test from either 100 or 25 questions is a very small part of the interview. If an officer finds that there are issues related to good moral character, it is possible to recommend that residence be revoked.

Our advice is to seek advice before filing an N-400 application for citizenship.    It’s usually a very good idea to apply for citizenship. Please be sure that you qualify first.