What does immigration mean by Good Moral Character?

///What does immigration mean by Good Moral Character?

This is a catch all for almost every immigration benefit.  For every application, there are actions that will automatically disqualify you from the immigration benefit.  For example, there are certain crimes, like murder, which are permanent bars to almost everything.  However, if you haven’t been convicted of an automatic disqualifier immigration can still deny your application if you don’t meet the more general Good Moral Character criteria.  You have to be very careful, because immigration will consider any and all convictions, even if

  • even if it was expunged (erased from your record) or
  • A juvenile matter and sealed (before you were 18).

There is no comprehensive list of what is an example of lack of Good Moral Character.  You have to review your past history as a whole.  Here are a few examples, but this list is by no means comprehensive

  • Certain crimes: Murder, rape, sexual abuse of a child, violent assault, trafficking in drugs, firearms, or people, or what is defined as an aggravated felony but those are also automatic disqualifiers;
  • Habitual drunkenness;
  • Illegal gambling;
  • Prostitution;
  • Polygamy (marriage to more than one person at the same time);
  • Failure to pay court ordered child support or alimony payments;
  • Domestic Violence; and
  • Terrorist acts

Immigration will consider when the event occurred, the severity of the incident, your attempts to rehabilitate yourself since then, etc.  When you apply you must put the event in context to best support your application. 

If you have ever been arrested for any reason, make sure to have history reviewed by an immigration attorney before you apply. 

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