For immigrants undergoing the U.S. naturalization process, USCIS consular officers will need to establish one’s good moral character (GMC). Typically, USCIS officers will ask important questions that they hope will elicit the applicant’s character, intentions, and criminal records.
Individuals undergoing the naturalization process should be aware of this process and plan accordingly. The issues and questions relevant to establishing one’s GMC may arise at anytime during one’s naturalization interview. In that sense, knowing what to say will be vitally important.
When consular officers ask people questions relevant to GMC, he or she is expected to consider the applicant’s education level and English proficiency. People preparing for interviews should not be surprised if the officer rephrases or asks the same question multiple times. The additional questions are intended to ensure that the applicant understands the questions and proceedings.
More importantly, it is important to be thoughtful and honest with all answers. In cases where an applicant is admitting or talking about a criminal offense, the consular officer must take a sworn statement.
Court dispositions may be legally requested for any criminal offenses committed both on U.S. soil and abroad. Additionally, USCIS requires that applicants provide court dispositions that are certified by the pertinent jurisdiction of the offense committed during the statutory period.
Applicants are required to provide these certified court dispositions for any arrests involving:
- Arrests involving a criminal act committed during the statutory period
- Arrests for murder
- Arrests for any offense that would otherwise render the applicant into removal
- Arrests that occur outside the statutory period, but would preclude the applicant’s GMC if compounded with an arrest inside the statutory period
- Arrests that occurred on or after November 29,1990—that may be aggravated felony
Failure to Produce Evidence?
For cases where the initial examination has been conducted, the officers should exercise discretion on the naturalization application with the merits where the applicant fails to respon to a request. In other words, USCIS officers are not to deny the application for lack of prosection after the previous naturalization examination.
If you know anyone currently undergoing the naturalization process, it is highly advised that he or she seeks legal counsel—if they have not already done so. The consular officers will be asking many difficult and complex questions pertaining to one’s moral character.
Finding the right legal counsel will help prepare an applicant for a difficult interview. With the right case and clear answers to these GMC questions, applicants can rest assured that they are creating a compelling case.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.
For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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