If you apply for U.S. citizenship through a procedure referred to as naturalization, there are several reasons your application may be denied. Some of the grounds for denial include whether you deserved a green card, whether you violated any laws after receiving a green card, and whether you meet the basic criteria for being a U.S. citizen. With the assistance of an immigration lawyer New York, you will be able to determine whether the reasons for your denial are justified. In any case, you can re-apply for U.S. citizenship if your initial application is not successful. Here are some of the options available to you after your citizenship application is rejected.

Appealing to the USCIS

When your citizenship application is rejected, USCIS will provide the reasons for rejecting and the date when you can reapply. If you choose to apply again, you will pass through the entire naturalization process over again. This means your immigration attorney New York will file a new N-400 form, submit your fingerprints and photos, and pay another application fee. However, if you want to contest the rejection, you can file an appeal.

Your first appeal will be addressed to USCIS. After you are notified that your naturalization application is denied, you will have a 30 day window to appeal. If you fail to appeal within 30 days, you will have lost your right to make an appeal and USCIS will consider your request as a motion to reopen or motion to reconsider. In both of these motions, you are required to prove that your case deserves an appeal. At this point, it would be wise to consult an immigration lawyer New York to improve your chances of success.

To start the appellate process, you are required to file a Form N-336 before the 30 day window discussed above. After filing this form, the USCIS will have 180 days to set a schedule for a hearing. During the hearing, the USCIS immigration officer will review your application and will do one of the following:

  • Affirm the conclusions in the denial and uphold the initial decision
  • Re-determine the initial decision but reject your application on new grounds of ineligibility
  • Re-determine the initial decision and reverse it by approving your citizenship application

If the immigration officer denies your application on new grounds, you can choose to reapply or to appeal to the Federal District Court. This court will hear your case afresh.

Reapplying For Citizenship After Failing the Naturalization Exam

If USCIS rejected your application because you did not pass the naturalization exam, your immigration attorney New York can help you reapply afterwards. However, before rejecting your application because of failing the exam, USCIS will offer you a second chance to pass the failed part of the exam. If you fail the second time, your application will be denied and you will have the option of applying again or seeking an appeal. If your appeal is based on failing the exam, the USCIS officer will give you a chance to redo the part of the test that you failed. Unlike your first interview, during an appeal, you have one chance to pass the failed part of the test.

After you fail the naturalization exam after an appeal, your best option is to study for the test and reapply for naturalization. You are only eligible to file another application for naturalization after five years.

Summing It Up

Whether you can apply again for U.S. citizenship is dependent on the reasons for your denial. If your application is denied because of serious offenses, you might not be eligible to apply again. However, if your application is denied for petty reasons such as failing the naturalization test, you may appeal the decision or reapply again after five years.