Can I Appeal a Naturalization Denial?
Jan. 25, 2022
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a long and labor-intensive process, but one that’s infinitely worth it. If you’ve recently immigrated to the United States and taken the steps to acquire citizenship, you should feel proud of all you’ve accomplished. However, many people grow frustrated when they apply for naturalization only to have their application denied. If this has happened to you and you’re in the Woburn, Massachusetts area, call our team of lawyers at Corbaci Law, P.C for help understanding your denial and working through an appeal.
Common Reasons a Naturalization
Application is Denied
There are many reasons you may have received a naturalization denial, some of which are easier to address than others. One of the most common reasons for a denial is that you’ve failed your citizenship test. This test requires not only that you can answer basic questions about U.S. civics, but that you can show proficiency in English. You may also be denied if you failed to meet the continuous residency requirements, have failed to pay taxes, or lied in any way on your application.
The best way to address any potential issues is to work with an immigration attorney before you apply. This can ensure you’ve met all the criteria and provided sufficient documentation to obtain approval. However, if you’ve already received a denial, you can seek to appeal this decision, and we can help you do it.
Receiving a Denial
If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has denied your application, they must give you notice within 120 days of your initial interview. The denial must be sent as a written notice and must tell you the reason your application wasn’t approved. If you were denied due to a failed citizenship test, you’ll be informed that you may retake it, but only if you failed on your first attempt. The notice will also contain information on how to appeal this decision or request a hearing.
The Appeal Process
If you decide to appeal the USCIS’s decision because you believe they made a mistake, you’ll have 30 days to make the request for a hearing. It’s very important you do so within this time frame or else you risk your appeal being rejected. You’ll generally receive a hearing date within 180 days of your appeal being received, and the immigration officer overseeing your appeal must be different from the one who reviewed your case the first time.
During your hearing, you can bring forward new evidence. Many claimants elect to retain an immigration attorney at this time. An experienced lawyer can help you prepare your case and will have an in-depth understanding of U.S. immigration laws and how they relate to your case.
Alternative to Appeal
If you decide not to go through the appeals process, you can choose to reapply for naturalization, and your denial notice should inform you how long you must wait to reapply. This can sometimes be a preferable option since you’ll get a fresh start to correct any mistakes. Many people who were denied based on errors in their application, insufficient evidence, or falling short of certain residency requirements might find reapplying easier than making an appeal.
Getting Help From Experienced
Deciding to apply for U.S. citizenship is an exciting undertaking, but it can also be quite stressful. If you’re concerned about the application process or if you’ve already applied and been denied, our skilled attorneys can answer your questions and help you with your next steps. We’re proud to serve clients in and around the Woburn, Massachusetts area including Boston, Marlborough, and Framingham. Call us today to set up a consultation.