Let Us Help You With Your Naturalization Process
After living in the United States for a certain period, many immigrants may feel like Americans even though they do not have official citizenship or permanent residency status. Today, lawful permanent residents can actually apply for U.S. citizenship after living here for five years. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for citizenship after only three years of permanent residency. This unique process of becoming a citizen is called naturalization, and it’s done by filling out the form N-400.
To apply for naturalization to be a U.S. citizen, you must certain requirements, which are:
- Be 18 years or older at the time you file the application
- Have lived in the country as a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on the above situations)
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
- Demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history
- Demonstrate loyalty to the principles stated in the Constitution
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance
- Demonstrate good moral character
Some of these requirements may seem overwhelming, but working with a naturalization attorney in Los Angeles can help ensure that you meet all the requirements so that you can have the strongest application possible and be naturalized quicker. An attorney for naturalization in Los Angeles is not required to apply for naturalization, but it’s highly recommended by immigration experts.
What is “Good Moral Character?”
You may be wondering what exactly the U.S. government means by “demonstrating good moral character.” The good moral character requirement is the government’s way to see whether or not a foreign national would make a good and honest U.S. citizen. The U.S. government prioritizes those who have a clean criminal record and no past legal trouble in both the U.S.
To prove good moral character on your naturalization application, you need to show that you haven’t committed any crimes and don’t have a criminal record. Make sure to consult with an LA immigration lawyer if you have a criminal history because this may bar you from naturalization.
You will hear Los Angeles citizenship attorneys refer to a “statutory period” when talking about good moral character. Naturalization applicants must show, and continue to show, good moral character during the statutory period before filing for naturalization and up until their Oath of Allegiance. The statutory period is the years in which the foreigner has lived in the U.S. before being eligible to file for naturalization. As stated above, this can be five years or shortened to three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen.
Crimes That Permanently Disqualify Immigrants From Meeting the Good Moral Character Requirement
In 2019, the 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 requirement for naturalization. Conviction or imprisonment for an unlawful act may disqualify a naturalization application if this act is determined to adversely reflect the applicant’s moral character.
The crimes that make you ineligible for the good moral character clause of naturalization are serious and/or violent crimes. Called “aggravated felonies,” they include selling drugs, assault, theft, and fraud. Because of the serious nature of these crimes, a person who has been convicted of an aggravated felony cannot prove good moral character.
Examples of more unlawful acts recognized as barring good moral character include, but are not limited to:
- Bail jumping
- Bank fraud
- Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
- Failure to file or pay taxes
- False claim to 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
- Violation of a U.S. embargo
USCIS officers judge good moral character on a case-by-case basis. When examining how the criminal acts affect their application, the officers determine whether there are extenuating circumstances. An extenuating circumstance for good moral character pertains to the unlawful act and must precede or be happen at the same time the foreigner committed the unlawful act.
Crimes That May Not Disqualify Immigrants From Meeting the Good Moral Character Requirement
Even if you have committed an aggravated felony in the past, there’s still hope. If this illegal act happened outside of the statutory period of either five or three years, then you may still be able to demonstrate that you have good moral character. For example, if you committed your felony in 2015 and you are applying for naturalization in 2021, you are still eligible.
You can have certain crimes on your record that still allow you to show good moral character as long as you didn’t commit them within a certain period of time.
- Two or more crimes that led to a jail term of at least five years
- A crime that led to a jail sentence at least 180 days
- Lying to get an immigration benefit
- Being married to more than one person at the same (bigamy)
- Two or more crimes related to gambling
- Failing to make child support payments
- Committing adultery
Since the burden of proving good moral character is placed on the applicant and these applications are judged on a case-by-case basis, you have great chances of being approved if you have an organized and thorough naturalization application. Contact legal immigration help in Los Angeles if you want to have a solid application that will get approved.
About Alami Law
At The Law Offices of Amira Al-Alami we understand the daunting obstacles that you may face on your path to citizenship. The legal system is complicated and complex. A small mistake can result in a major setback that limits your chances of starting a new life in the U.S. In most cases, immigration can affect one’s entire life whether it is seeking new opportunities or prioritizing the safety of you and your loved ones. We provide a wide range of services for all immigration matters, such as:
Why choose this firm? As an immigrant herself, Amira can resonate with each and every one of her clients. The foundation of this firm is built on communication and trust. It is both Amira and her staff’s desire to prioritize each case to get immediate results. To schedule a consultation, call 1-626-469-5807 or email email@example.com. Additionally, we offer a WhatsApp line: 818-434-6241.