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Proving good moral character for naturalization purposes

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Residents of Maryland and other states who wish to become naturalized must meet a variety of requirements. One is of possessing good moral character.

In order for applicants to complete the process of naturalization, they must demonstrate that they have"good moral character." In years past, this was accomplished by having witnesses attest to this. Current processes tend to look at good moral character as something that can be disproven. For example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may find that someone lacks good moral character because they did not follow certain legal duties, such as filing a tax return or paying child support. Committing certain crimes can also serve as proof that a person lacks good moral character. This is particularly true with crimes involving moral turpitude.

Each application for naturalization is individually reviewed. Simply having a criminal history may not disqualify someone. Individual circumstances are assessed, such as the crime that was committed, whether anyone was a victim of the criminal activity and how long ago the conviction occurred. Mitigating circumstances may also be taken into consideration, such as steps that the person took to become rehabilitated and how his or her life has changed since the conviction.

Individuals who believe that their criminal history or another aspect of their past may make them ineligible for naturalization may choose to discuss their case with an immigration law attorney who has experience with these types of matters. Legal counsel can review the client's past record and provide advice as to how to deal with any issues that might arise during an interview with immigration officials.

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