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What You Need to Know About Letters of Good Moral Character


If you are looking to become a U.S. citizen, one of the requirements of naturalization is proof of good moral character. A person with good moral character must show that they have not had any criminal history, and has established good relationships with the community. There are many ways this can be refuted, but proving good moral character can sometimes be more difficult. One of the best ways to prove good character is to gather letters in your favor.

About "Good Moral Character" & US Immigration

According to immigration, good moral character does not have a singular definition and is more easily defined by what it is not. The purpose of this requirement of the naturalization process is to ensure that new U.S. citizens have the same upstanding moral character of the average citizen.

A person of "good moral character" must not have any criminal history or trouble with the law. This includes any accounts of fraud, smuggling, drug crimes, and so on. Minor slip ups, like traffic tickets or long-ago arrests, are not usually severe enough to warrant a refusal on grounds of good moral character. However, more serious offenses or violent crimes committed either before or during the statutory period before filing for citizenship could count against moral character.

The standard time period examined for good moral character varies between 3 and 5 years. Time frames are often shorter for service members or spouses of U.S. citizens. The applicant must also have followed all guidelines regarding their entrance and establishment in the U.S., including lawful work permits, obtaining a green card, and so on.

What Is a Letter of Good Moral Character?

In order to establish good moral character, most people going through the naturalization process ask American citizens they know to write letters to recommend them. These letters may come from an employer, community group leader, religious leader, or neighbor. An account of your good moral character from an established, respected citizen of the United States could go a long way to help support your naturalization process.

Need more information about letters of good moral character or the immigration process? Our immigration lawyers can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael M. Felix today to get started.

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