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Five typical reasons for rejecting an application for naturalization

US citizenship is perhaps the most important dream of most immigrants, which many of them have been pursuing for years. From 2014 to 2017, more than 2,3 million permanent residents of the United States naturalized as citizens of this country.

Photo: Shutterstock

However, over the same period, more than 224 000 green card holders were denied satisfaction with the N-400 form (naturalization application). There are several typical reasons for such a refusal; a list has compiled them. Citizen path.

It is important to understand that by submitting an application N-400, the applicant gives USCIS the right to double-check information about it. Therefore, there is a risk that the Service will find something that the department did not notice earlier. Therefore, it is worth knowing why other applicants were refused in order to realistically assess their chances.

Typical causes of failure

1. Failed English proficiency test or citizenship test

If you fail your English proficiency test or citizenship test during your first interview, USCIS will schedule you to re-interview within 60-90 days after your first interview. During the second meeting, USCIS will rerun only the test you failed the first time. However, USCIS will reject your N-400 form if you do not pass the test a second time.

Most immigrants pass these tests, although, of course, it is worth preparing for them. It is also useful to carefully review your application for naturalization (N-400) before the interview. A USCIS employee is likely to ask you to clarify and comment on your answers in this form.

The law also provides for exemption from the English test during naturalization for three groups of applicants:

  • Persons older than 50 and who have been permanent residents of the United States for at least 20 years;
  • Persons older than 55 and who have been permanent residents of the United States for at least 15 years;
  • Persons with mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from learning English.

If you want to request a disability test for English because of your disability, you need to file with USCIS an N-648 form, including medical evidence of disability, along with your N-400 form.

2. Crime story

When applying for naturalization, USCIS will receive your biometric data and conduct a criminal history review in the United States and other countries. Some crimes permanently deprive a permanent resident of the United States of the right to obtain citizenship of this country, while other crimes create only a temporary restriction.

If you have ever been convicted of murder or a serious crime, you are likely to be forever denied US citizenship. This is an automatic ban that cannot be affected by a USCIS officer. Severe crimes in immigration law are defined somewhat differently than in criminal law. Their list in the United States includes crimes that in other countries can be considered just a misdemeanor. For example, any crime of violence or theft that resulted in imprisonment of one year or more would be considered a serious criminal offense when applying for naturalization.

Minor offenses limit the applicant’s ability to obtain US citizenship for three or five years. After this period, the immigrant may submit a second application, the decision on which will be taken by the USCIS officer, based on data on the moral character of the applicant.

If you have ever been arrested, consult an experienced immigration lawyer before submitting the N-400 form.

3. Failure to comply with the requirements of permanent residence and physical presence

As a permanent resident, you are free to travel outside the United States and visit your family in your home country. If your goal is to become a US citizen, then it is important to understand and comply with the requirements of permanent residence and physical presence in the country.

Long trips outside the United States may violate the requirement of permanent residence. You should avoid traveling abroad for six months or more for one year.

The requirement of physical presence means that the applicant was physically present in the United States for a certain period of time during the previous five years. As a rule, you must have 30 months of physical presence in the United States before applying for naturalization. Exceptions are provided for applicants who are married to US citizens and those who work for the US government abroad.

4. Failure to meet financial obligations

Many Americans, including permanent residents, sometimes experience financial problems that lead to a pledge of property, bankruptcy and unpaid debts. Debt itself is not an obstacle to naturalization. However, there are some financial problems that may prevent the applicant from becoming a US citizen.

Failure to pay taxes is a typical reason for refusing a request on the form N-400. If USCIS detects this problem, you will most likely be denied citizenship. To avoid this, contact an immigration attorney or a tax advisor who will help you develop a tax payment plan and show USCIS that you are working on a solution to this problem. Paying tax arrears, most people can continue the naturalization process and avoid refusing requests in the form of N-400.

Another common problem for citizenship applicants is the inability to financially provide for dependents. If an applicant for naturalization has a minor child or children who do not live with him, the applicant must prove that he is providing them with adequate financial support.

If there is a court decision on alimony or other financial obligations, it is important to have evidence of compliance with this decision. An applicant who is unable to pay childcare benefits on time will most likely be refused after completing the N-400 form.

5. Fraud and Lies to USCIS Agents

If USCIS determines that your answer to questions on the form is not true or that the information provided is incorrect, your application for naturalization will be delayed or rejected. It does not matter if the incorrect information was provided randomly or planned. Therefore, check the information specified in the application before shipping. If you are unable to obtain any of the requested data, you must prove to USCIS that you have made enough effort to obtain it.

During the naturalization process, USCIS will review your US residence history. If the officer determines that the green card was issued as a result of fraud, even if it was many years ago, the application for citizenship will be rejected.

So be honest when answering form questions. If you think that an honest answer can create a problem with naturalization, you should consult a lawyer.

Special causes of failure to naturalize

Men's applications may be rejected if they do not register in the Selective Service system.

Men between the ages of 18 and 26 must register with the Selective Service (a government database of potential candidates for the United States Armed Forces) when filing Form N-400. If they are not registered in this system, this may become a reason for rejection of the application.

Request for additional documents and appeal refusal

USCIS may decide that you must provide additional documents or evidence to obtain US citizenship. Then you will be asked to fill out the N-14 form (request for additional information). Together with this form, you will need to provide additional documentation required by the Service to continue the naturalization process.

If your N-400 form has been rejected and you believe that USCIS did this in error, you can request a hearing with a USCIS officer. The terms of the hearing request will be indicated in the letter of refusal. The N-336 Appeal and Request Hearing Form must be filed with USCIS within 30 days after receiving the letter of denial of citizenship.

As a reminder, there is now a special program for New Yorkers eligible for naturalization, launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2016 - until July 28, they can sign up to participate in the lottery and get a chance to win a voucher for the free passage of naturalization.

Read also on ForumDaily:

How to Prepare for a Naturalization Test on the Go: Useful Tools

What you need to know about the design of a passport of a US citizen for a child

How I became a citizen of America: the process of naturalization from A to Z

How to get US citizenship if your spouse is an American

US citizenship Educational program naturalization USCIS
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