Good Moral Character is defined by section 101(f) of the Immigration & Nationality Act as an alien who during the period for which good moral character is required to be established, is not, or was not the following:
- A habitual drunkard;
- A prostitute, drug trafficker, or purveyor of any other moral vice for commercial gain;
- Whose income is derived principally from illegal gambling activities;
- Who has been convicted of two or more gambling offenses committed during such period;
- Who has given false testimony for the purpose of obtaining any immigration benefit;
- Who during such period was confined, as a result of conviction, to a penal institution for an aggregate period of 180 days or more, regardless of whether the offense, or offenses, for which he or she has been confined were committed within or without such period;
- Who at any time has been convicted of an aggravated felony;
- Who at any time committed certain internationally repugnant acts, including, but not limited to terrorism, torture and membership in an organization that condones or performs such acts;
- Who at anytime makes a false statement or claim of citizenship, registers to vote, or votes in a Federal, State, or local election (Including an initiative, recall, or referendum) or is in violation of a lawful restriction of such voting to citizens.
Good Moral Character for the purposes of Naturalization
In the Naturalization context, the period of good moral character is five (5) years (three (3) years if lawful permanent residence was obtained by marriage to a U.S. citizen).
This means that an applicant must have either 5 or 3 years of good moral character prior to applying.
Good Moral Character in Removal (Deportation) proceedings
In deportation proceedings good moral character is required for various types of relief, including, but not limited to voluntary departure, cancellation of removal and the various waivers of deportation.