What is Good Moral Character? - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
Button 3 Button 1 Button 2 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

What is Good Moral Character?

Posted on in Immigration
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

DuPage County naturalization attorneys, good moral characterIf someone wants to become a United States citizen or adjust status, he or she is generally aware that the process is quite complex. Providing all the relevant documents can take years. However, the most commonly confused provision is that requiring ‘good moral character.’ This term is not clearly defined in U.S. immigration law, and without a concrete understanding of what is required, your naturalization application may be turned down.

A Subjective Definition

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Policy Manual defines good moral character as “character which measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.” This definition, as one might guess, is extremely subjective and difficult to define in hard terms.

Generally, if someone does not have a criminal record, it is a point in their favor. However, the mere existence of a criminal record is not an immediate bar to citizenship. The crime in question must be serious—something that is referred to in other immigration jurisprudence as a crime of moral turpitude (CIMT), which is also arguably not well defined. A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that has the potential to shock the conscience of the average person—but this, like the standard for good moral character, is highly subjective.

Even if you have a CIMT on your record, you may still be able to overcome the presumption against your good moral character if you can show you have since reformed, or if it was an isolated incident. In this regard, the law’s subjectivity may work for you instead of against you.

When Good Moral Character Matters

Good moral character is not important to show in every possible immigration circumstance—indeed, there are rare circumstances in which it might actually be disadvantageous to show. However, some of the most common immigration applications do require a showing of good character, without which your application will almost certainly be denied.

The most common of these situations is when you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) applying for naturalization. You must demonstrate good moral character not only in a lack of serious crimes on your record, but also in being ‘well disposed’ to the peace and order of the United States. This is serious—in some cases, lawful permanent residents who leave the country and return may be denied entry if their moral character is not sufficiently acceptable. Good moral character can also matter if you are undocumented or have overstayed your visa. Some forms of immigration relief, such as cancellation of removal, are only eligible to those who demonstrate good moral character, among other criteria.

Get a Legal Professional On Your Side

The process of adjusting one’s immigration status takes a long time, for a multitude of reasons. To find out you are unqualified after months of preparation can be demoralizing. Talking to a knowledgeable immigration attorney can save you time, trouble and money. The experienced DuPage County naturalization attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices, LLC are well versed in this area of law, and are happy to help you get through what can be a very confusing time in your life. Contact our Chicagoland offices today for a free consultation.



Latest Blog Posts


  • DuPage County Immigration Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyer
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers
  • Better Business Bureau

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from four offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted