Why was the Application denied?

There are many reasons why an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) could be denied.  Some are very simple to overcome and require only a new filing.  Some denials may require a considerable waiting time before the new filing can be done.  Some denials are in error and a supervisory review could be requested.  Some denials are a message: Stay away.

Some applications get denied simply because they were filed too early.  Sometimes it is because the period for "permanent residence" has not been completed by the date of filing.  Some applications get denied because the required periods of "physical presence" have not been completed.  Others get denied because they were filed while the applicant was still on probation for a criminal offense.  Some young men are surprised when denied because they neglected to register for Selective Service between ages 18 and 26, and are told that they cannot apply for U.S. Citizenship before age 31.

Denials of this kind require a careful calculation of timelines - and then a refiling of the application.  However, there are denials because lack of truthfulness during the interview.  For example: An applicant may claim that he or she of was never arrested, even though they have an arrest in their past.  (Any arrest, even a most minor one, must be disclosed).  Such a denial may cause a big delay - as much as 5 or 3 years - before a new application can be filed.

Some denials are more problematic - they have to do with problems in the way the applicant had obtained the Immigrant Visa or Green Card several years earlier.  Denials of this kind may cause the U.S. Citizenship or Immigration Service (CIS) to issue a Notice To Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court.  (To read more about Immigration Court - click here).  If this happens, the applicant is in danger of being deported.  This is the time to get help of an experienced Immigration lawyer, who may find that the applicant is eligible for one of the many waivers "pardons") provided by the Immigration law.  Or, the lawyer's advice could be to "forget it" - stay as a Green Card holder and be happy that the government leaves you alone.

Some denials have to do with elements of eligibility: Failing the English test or the questions about U.S. government and history.  None payment of child support.  Owing taxes to the government.  Not responding to requests for documents.  These, and other issues like these, can be rectified before a new filing is done.

A denial of an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) in most cases does not mean an end to the applicant's desire to become an American Citizen.  This may still be possible after careful review and preparation.

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