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Appealing a Naturalization Denial

Immigration Law Center Inc. Sept. 20, 2023

When immigrants come to the United States, they do so with a vision for a new life and a bright future. For many immigrants, this journey involves a process called naturalization, which grants citizenship to a lawful permanent resident. The immigration system is complex and requires many steps and forms to submit. When an application for naturalization is denied, it can be heartbreaking and leave you feeling like you’re going back to square one. Appealing a denial is possible, and working with a knowledgeable immigration law firm is the first step. 

At Immigration Law Center Inc., we offer legal representation to individuals and families trying to navigate the complicated U.S. immigration system. Whether you are looking to apply for naturalization, have been denied and are looking for answers, or need help appealing your denial, we are ready to lead you through every step of the process. If you are located in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area—or near our Birmingham, Alabama office—and want to discuss your options for appealing your naturalization denial, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation. 

Common Reasons a Naturalization Application Is Denied

There are various reasons why the USCIS may deny your application for naturalization, but some are more common than others. Examples of some of the most common reasons for denial include: 

  • failing to establish strong moral character 

  • not having lawful permanent resident status 

  • not establishing continuous residence 

  • failing to maintain your lawful permanent resident status 

  • failing to pass the civics or English tests 

Though the list above is not exhaustive, your denial may fall into one of the categories. If you are notified of the denial of your naturalization application, it is important to understand your rights and the option you have to enter the appeal process. 

Receiving a Denial

Under federal law, there are specific guidelines the USCIS must follow when denying your naturalization application, including how and when you are required to be notified. The USCIS must notify you of the denial of your application within 120 days of your initial interview. Additionally, the USCIS is required by law to provide you with official, written notice of your denial, including the listing of all specific reasons for the denial and a citation of any specific law that applies to the denial. If the reason for denial is the failure of the first attempt at English or civics tests, the applicant will be notified of the opportunity to retake the tests. 

The written notice is also required to inform the denied applicant of their right to appeal the denial or to request an official hearing with an immigration officer. 

The Appeal Process

In order to appeal the denial of your naturalization application, you must submit Form N-336. The filing of this form must happen within 30 days of being notified of your application denial. In addition to Form N-336, you are allowed to submit any other documentation or evidence supporting a claim that the USCIS made an error in denying your application. An experienced immigration law attorney will be able to assist you in completing the form and submitting it properly and within the required time frame. 

If your appeal is initiated correctly and in a timely fashion, the USCIS must schedule a review hearing no more than 180 days after the date your appeal is filed. A new immigration officer will be assigned to your review hearing. At your hearing, your attorney can present all arguments and evidence to support your appeal. 

Alternatives to Appeal

If filing an appeal is determined to not be your best option, you may also file a new naturalization application by submitting Form N-400. Though submitting an entirely new application means starting over with all documentation, photos, and fingerprints, it may actually be easier and less challenging than launching an official appeal. 

Put Your Trust in Our Team 

The immigration and naturalization process can easily feel overwhelming and stressful, not to mention frustrating when things don’t go as planned. The intricacies and complexities of immigration law require a trained eye and keen insight, which make hiring an experienced immigration attorney your best option. By trusting your immigration case with a skilled lawyer, you can have confidence that your rights will be protected as you seek a favorable resolution. 

If you are looking for guidance and legal representation in your immigration case, our team at Immigration Law Center Inc. is ready to stand by your side. No matter where you are in the legal process, we will meet with you to hear your story, explain the options available to you, and help you determine the best course of action to pursue the outcome you need.

Contact us right away to schedule a consultation to talk about your case. We proudly serve clients from our office locations in Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama.