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What to do if your Form N-400 gets denied?

Category : Naturalization

If you are a Permanent Resident of the United States and decide to become a citizen of the country, you can do so by the process of Naturalization. The process is a long and demanding one though the benefits of becoming a citizen of the United States are worth the effort. In order to file for citizenship, you must first check if you are eligible for naturalization.

In order to qualify, the applicant must be 18 years or older and:

  • Must be a Permanent Resident of the country for the past 5 years

  • Must have continuous residence in the U.S for at least 6 months out of any given year.

  • Must be residing in the state where applying for citizenship for the past 3 months prior to filing the application.

  • Must demonstrate good moral character.

  • Must have basic knowledge about the history and civics of the country and also be able to converse in basic English.

  • Must be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, if approved for citizenship.

If you are eligible to apply for citizenship, you must file Form N-400, Application for U.S. Citizenship with the USCIS. After you complete your biometrics appointment and your Citizenship interview, you will receive the result of the citizenship test on the same day as the interview or in a few weeks by mail.

In case your application for naturalization is denied, you have two options:

  • File for a hearing on the denial of the application

  • File a new naturalization application

File for a hearing on the denial of the application

Form N-400 get deniedIf you are denied citizenship by the USCIS, you will receive the denial letter by mail, giving you the reason for your application not being approved. You will also receive a Form N-336 along with this denial letter, which allows you a request for a hearing on the denial of your citizenship application. It simply means you can seek an administrative review of the denial of your application. Read the denial notice received from the USCIS carefully to ascertain the exact reason your application was denied. Check whether the USCIS has sent any Requests for Evidence(RFE) and if you fulfill the eligibility criteria and also check whether you have submitted all the supporting documents along with your application form.

If you meet all the eligibility criteria and are certain your application denial was an error, you can request for the hearing of your application denial. This request must be filed within 30 days of receiving the denial form.

The Form N-336, Request for a hearing on a decision in Naturalization Proceedings, that you send to the USCIS must state the reason you are requesting a hearing. You can also submit any kind of supporting documents or new evidence that might help your case.

The USCIS will then schedule a review hearing before an immigration officer within 180 days of receiving the Form N-336. During the hearing, the immigration officer has the discretion to conduct the entire hearing and may decide to uphold the application denial or may overturn the previous decision and approve the u.s.citizenship application. In some cases, you will be asked to complete the English proficiency test and the history, civics exam even though you have already taken them during your previous citizenship interview.

File a new naturalization application

Even though it is difficult to accept the application denial, always keep in mind that the denial decision taken by the USCIS is often right, and your request to review your application may not bring any change. If your application has been rejected on the grounds of moral character, where you may have provided false information or have criminal convictions, it is best to apply for the process of naturalization again rather than request for a hearing.

If your application is denied, you may file a new application for Naturalization immediately after receiving the denial. You can also file for a new Naturalization application if you have missed the 30 days deadline within which you can request for a hearing for the application denial.

If you file for a new Form N-400, you will have to do the entire process again: File the Application for Citizenship form N-400 with the USCIS, attend the biometrics appointment, and taking the citizenship test again. The processing time for the naturalization application varies from one applicant to another, and the state in which applied.

If your application was denied due to timing issues, like failure to continuously reside in the U.S for the time period defined by the USCIS, you must wait for the sufficient time period to pass that you satisfy the time period specified, 5 continuous years of residence before you file for a new citizenship application.

Important Immigration Forms

U.S. Citizenship Form N-400 Green Card Renewal Form I-90

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