The naturalization process is complex and can be difficult to navigate. If your naturalization application is denied, you still have options to appeal or refile your application.

Whichever path you take, you should contact an immigration attorney who can help you understand why your application was denied and advise you on the best course of action going forward.

Why Are Naturalization Applications Denied?

If your naturalization application is denied, you will receive a notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) explaining the reasons for the denial. There are many reasons why naturalization applications may be denied.

Failure to Meet Residency Requirements

The naturalization residency requirement involves both continuous residence and a physical presence.

Continuous Residence

You must have resided continuously in the United States for at least five years before applying for naturalization. One exception to this is if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, which only requires three years of continuous residency.

You may take brief and occasional trips outside the country. Extended absences outside the United States may disrupt your proof of continuous residence.

Physical Presence

You must have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the five years before filing your naturalization application. This means you must have spent at least 913 days in the United States during the five years.

Failure to Meet Financial Requirements

There are no explicit financial requirements for naturalization to the United States. However, you must show that you can support yourself and your family without relying on public benefits. That means you must be able to provide for your own basic needs, such as food, housing, and clothing. You must also be able to pay for your own medical expenses. This can be demonstrated by showing you have employment, significant assets, or sponsorship.

Failed English or Civics Test

The naturalization test evaluates your English language skills and your knowledge of U.S. history and government.

English Test

The English test assesses your ability to read, write, and speak English in ordinary usage. The test includes tasks such as reading and understanding a passage of text, writing a short essay, and answering questions about American history and government.

Civics Test

The civics test assesses your knowledge of U.S. history and government. The test consists of 20 questions that are randomly selected from a 100-question pool. You must answer correctly six out of ten questions to pass the civics test.

Criminal History

You may be denied naturalization for failing to demonstrate good moral character. This means that you may have committed serious crimes, such as a felony. You also cannot engage in any other activities that would call your character into question.

What Should You Do if Your Application Is Denied?

If your naturalization application is denied, there are two main options for you: appeal the decision or refile your application. Here are some specific steps you can take if your naturalization application is denied:

  • Carefully review the denial notice. The denial notice will explain why your application was denied. It is important to understand these reasons so that you can address them in your appeal or reapplication.
  • Gather evidence to support your appeal or reapplication. This evidence may include documents, affidavits, or testimony from witnesses.
  • Prepare a written statement explaining why you believe you are eligible for naturalization. This statement should be clear, concise, and well-organized.
  • File your appeal or reapplication with the USCIS. You can file your appeal or reapplication online or by mail.

Requesting an Appeal

You may request an appeal of your denial of naturalization. To do this, you should file Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. The appeal will be reviewed by an immigration officer.

Appeal Hearing

A naturalization appeal hearing is an opportunity for you to challenge the denial of your naturalization application. The hearing is conducted by an immigration officer who will review your file and listen to your testimony.

What To Do Before Your Hearing

Before the hearing, you should prepare your arguments, gather evidence, and rehearse your testimony. You should:

  • Carefully review the denial notice and prepare a clear and concise explanation of why you believe the decision was wrong.
  • Collect any documents or other evidence that supports your arguments. This may include affidavits from witnesses, letters of support, or additional documentation of your eligibility for naturalization.
  • Practice explaining your case to the immigration officer. This will help you to feel more confident and prepared during the hearing.

What To Do on the Day of Your Hearing

Here are some tips that can help on the day of the hearing:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the hearing location and check in with the immigration officer.
  • Bring all the documents that you want to present to the immigration officer.
  • Dress professionally to make a good impression on the immigration officer.
  • Be polite and respectful to the immigration officer and other attendees at the hearing.
  • Answer the immigration officer’s questions honestly and truthfully. Be sure to provide complete and accurate information.

What Happens After the Hearing?

After the hearing, an immigration officer will decide on your appeal. You will receive a decision notice in writing.

If your appeal is denied, you may be able to file a petition for review with the federal court. This is a more complex legal process, and you may want to consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your options.

Work With an Immigration Attorney to Achieve Naturalization

The denial of your naturalization application does not have to mean the end of your dreams. An immigration lawyer with American Immigration Law Group can review your case and help you understand your options. We will build a successful path to citizenship for you.

Call us today at 314-416-8000 or use our online contact form to reach out.