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US Citizenship Denied? Act Fast
What to Do when US Citizenship is Denied
The United States has long attracted immigrants from all over the globe searching for greener pastures and better lives. The US News describes the United States as “a North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television.”
With the various economic opportunities provided by the US and the fact of owning one of the most powerful passports in the world with very few visas required to go to some countries, it comes to no surprise how a lot of people want to uproot their lives and endeavor into becoming citizens of the US.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services defines naturalization or N-400 as the “process to become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. If you
meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.” Naturalization was first built into US Law with the passage of the Naturalization Act of 1790. If you wish to become a US citizen, you may check your eligibility here.
N-400 Naturalization Denials
However, while the N-400 naturalization is not as complicated as the other immigration strands, the US has denied approximately 11.42% of citizenship applications in 2018. It can be overwhelming and cause high anxiety if you have received a denial of or a delay in your citizenship application.
If your application for a US citizenship has been denied, you need to act fast. Fortunately, you can make an appeal, and sometimes even revoke, a citizenship application denial. It is best to have competent immigration attorneys at your side who have the experience and knowledge of the myriad of rules and regulations on immigration. Who can help you better than someone who has undergone the process, too? New Jersey immigration attorney Andres Mejer was an immigrant who got a green card and subsequently became a US citizen. You can be one, too!
If you have been denied US citizenship, request for an appeal immediately as the time to submit an appeal should be within the first 30 days after the date of denial. However, we suggest you learn about common causes of citizenship application denial first and review your application in order to improve your chances of winning the appeal. Speak and consult with a legal professional to guide and assist you in order to boost your chances of a favorable outcome.
Common Causes of Citizenship Application Denial
If the USCIS has indicated in the denial letter the reasons for such denial, it is best to address these issues first before re-submitting your application. If the reason/s aren’t provided or if you have yet to submit your N-400 application, we list down some common reasons that would merit a denial of a US citizenship application.
Failing the English and Civics Test
The English and Civics Test is a mandatory requirement for all who apply for a US citizenship. This test comprises questions on US history, the American government and Integrated Civics such as geography, symbols and holidays. It also entails a test of your English proficiencies in reading, writing and speaking.
A common reason for citizenship denial is failing the English and Civics Test. We recommend you do some USCIS test drills and practice tests to prepare for the exam. A dedicated immigration attorney can also coach you through this process.
Failing To Continuously Stay In The US for at least 5 years prior to the application
US regulations stipulate that an applicant must have lived physically and continuously in the US for at least five years prior to the application. That while a green card holder can come and go re-enter the US, the time spent abroad will not be part of the count. Moreover, spending more than a year outside the US may be a violation of the continuous residence stipulation.
It is advisable to consult your citizenship attorney prior to spending time outside the US to ensure that you do not ruin your chances of becoming a citizen. If you have already spent a significant time living abroad, check also with your immigration attorney if it will impact your application. Your New Jersey immigration attorney can advise you if you should proceed with the appeal or wait out the application when you are sure to have complied.
Lack of Good Moral Character
The USCIS uses the term Good Moral Character (or GMC) to denote being assessed as “in good status” as per U.S. laws. What this basically means is that you have not been convicted or under investigation of aggravated felonies and federal crimes. An involvement in any felony or misdemeanor can still put your US citizenship at risk. Avoid being implicated in any criminal activity. Should you have a record, come clean with your citizenship attorney so he can make an evaluation and determine your chances.
Involvement in other legal proceedings such as Driving Under the Influence charges, a divorce, adultery, tax evasion cases, and such other legal matters can jeopardize your chances.
Jumpstarting Your Appeal
Should you be clear of these common causes of denial, then you need to jumpstart your appeal immediately and request for a hearing with an immigration officer. Fill out and complete the N-336 form or the “Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings.” The new immigration officer assigned to you will review your application and thereafter may impose another Civics Test and English Ability Test. After completion of the tests and a careful review of your application, the officer may reconfirm the earlier denial or revoke and approve your US citizenship.
Administrative Review Request
Here is an outline of the Administrative Review filing process.
- Application for an administrative review at most 30 days from the original denial of your citizenship application.
- Submission of the N-336 form (Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings) to the same USCIS district office that denied your application.
- Payment of filing fee of $605. (Please check with your immigration attorney as fees may change.)
- Submission of supplementary documentation to support the N-336 form. A short summary describing your eligibility and compliance with citizenship laws could boost your application.
- Should all documents be in order, you will then receive a notification from the USCIS with a date with the scheduled hearing.
What happens if your citizenship application is still denied after administrative review?
Federal District Court Review Request
Should a denial come after an administrative review, an application may be submitted to the Federal District Court within 120 days after the denial of the administrative review. A new officer will be handling your application and do a “de novo” review and will determine if your application is in line and in consonance with US immigration laws with a hearing scheduled within 3 months of your request.
Upon completion of the de novo review, the officer will either uphold the original denial, deny the application based on new findings or revere the denial decisions and approve your US citizenship application.
There is a possibility of you retaking the English Ability and Civic Tests. You have to do your best as this is extended only once and is not available for everyone. Your citizenship attorney can best explain how you can qualify for a retake.
If and when you get denial of your application for naturalization, there are two major types of motions that you can make: motion to reopen and motion to reconsider.
Motion to Reopen – This may be used if there is new evidence or supporting documents that would significantly favor your application. The officer will evaluate if this new evidence or documents will justify revoking the denial of your application.
Motion to Reconsider – This is made if you and your immigration attorney believe that the officer has possibly made a mistake when he/she issued the denial. With this legal motion, you will have to prove that your application has complied with immigration laws correctly and sufficiently in order to grant approval to your application.
In both cases, it is important that you do not endeavor to file such legal motions without an experienced and competent immigration attorney by your side. Obtaining citizenship involves an intricate web of legal procedures. Seek help in navigating the naturalization process.
Hiring New Jersey Immigration Attorney Services
Seeking the guidance and help of experienced professionals is always the best course of action.
Andres Mejer Law Immigration Attorneys can assist you in applying for US citizenship or appealing a denial. These New Jersey citizenship attorneys have years of experience and excellent track record.
Become a naturalized US citizen and contact Andres Mejer Law now.Share This Post!