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What does it mean to be of good moral character? 

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Immigration Law

In the U.S., all citizens are expected to adhere to the law of the land. The same can be said for immigrants, but their rights are substantially different. For instance, an immigrant may face deportation if they get into trouble with the law. If they are in the process of applying for naturalization, then their application could be denied based on a legal infraction. 

There is no single definition of what it means to be of good moral character, but there are some crucial points that are widely agreed upon. Outlined below are some important factors to consider:

Crimes of moral turpitude can get you deported

Criminal offenses fall on a spectrum, with the most serious offenses being crimes of moral turpitude. The most notable examples of this include murder, serious sexual offenses and severe fraud. Offenses such as driving under the influence, shoplifting and other minor infractions are typically not considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. Importantly, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these offenses can have no bearing on your immigration status. 

Dishonesty can cast a shadow on your character

Being of good moral character is not limited to adhering to the criminal laws of the country. Your character may be questioned if you have had an extramarital affair, have failed to pay child support or have lied during your immigration application. 

Even if you have been involved in some of the situations described above, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot show you are of good moral character. If your immigration status has been threatened, then you need to take steps to protect your rights. Having legal guidance behind you is the best way to address this.