Becoming a Citizen – Part 2 – Good Moral Character


Immigration 101 tracks my immigration law class at Hofstra Law School.

In the last installment of Immigration 101, I looked at the first requirement for becoming a U.S. citizen (USC). An immigrant first must be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), in most cases for at least five years, before applying for citizenship. But that is hardly the only requirement.

The next thing that Homeland Security will look at is whether the applicant has good moral character. All immigrants applying for citizenship go through biometric identification. A background check is done to see if the applicant has ever been arrested, or is a possible security threat. Any serious criminal history will render the immigrant ineligible for citizenship.

The Naturalization Officer interviewing the immigrant will also look over the applicant’s taxes for the last five years to make sure he or she is filing and does not owe any back taxes. If the immigrant has children not living with him, the officer will ask for evidence that child support is being paid.

Any immigration violations charged against the applicant will also be reviewed.

The citizenship applicant pays for these background examinations. An application for citizenship must be accompanied by a $675.00 fee for the Department of Homeland Security review as well as for FBI and CIA checks.

In the next installment, I’ll finish up with the requirements to become a citizen.

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