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Prospective immigrants may have to prove personal character

According to immigration laws, individuals seeking citizenship must possess good moral character. While this seems like a subjective benchmark, those seeking to naturalize in states like South Carolina can prove their character by demonstrating that they haven't committed actions that might indicate they're lacking in positive qualities.

Immigration authorities may examine factors like whether naturalization seekers have criminal records. Those who have committed crimes or been indicted for illegal activities may be judged as lacking the appropriate moral fiber needed to become productive citizens. Other transgressions, such as failure to pay owed child support, could also contribute to delays or hurdles in the citizenship process.

Attorneys maintain that having bad moral character might not be impossible to work around, but they also say that individuals who fail to meet the standards could benefit from specific advisement. Some actions, like filing tax returns, depend on circumstantial factors, such as the amount of money an individual made in a given year, so their necessity needs to be evaluated case by case. Most people who attempt to prove their moral character have to demonstrate that they have had clean records for at least five years, although those seeking naturalization through their spouses only require three years' worth of history.

Pursuing citizenship is an involved process that forces seekers to satisfy many rigorous standards. Because this is a highly political issue, the laws on immigration can change rapidly. Families and individuals who want to get the process started may benefit from meeting with an attorney who has experience with these matters.

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