Citizenship: Why appealing the denial of your N-400 might be a bad strategy

Boston Citizenship Lawyer

If you want to appeal the denial of your naturalization application, I might recommend that you not do this.  Let me explain why.

First some background:  if you apply for naturalization by filing Form N-400 and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied your application, you should receive a written denial letter explaining why your application was not approved.  Along with this denial letter, you should also receive Form N-336, allowing you to request a hearing on the denial of your naturalization application.  The N-336 effectively serves as an appeal since it allows you to seek an
administrative review of the denial.

It is true that you have the right to challenge the denial of your application for naturalization.  But just because you have the right to file an appeal doesn’t mean that it is prudent to do so.

First, and most importantly, USCIS often makes the correct decision when it denies N-400s.  This can be frustrating for disappointed applicants to accept.  In some cases, for instance, USCIS will find, in its discretion, that you have failed to show the necessary good moral character.  Consider the following examples:

  • If you intentionally provide false information in an effort to get your citizenship application approved, USCIS can bar you from showing good moral character on “false testimony” grounds.
  • Certain criminal convictions, arrests or probation, especially if occurring during the 5- or 3-year period before applying for citizenship, can result in the denial of your N-400 on good moral character grounds.

If USCIS has denied your N-400 on the good moral character grounds, filing a new application for naturalization might have a much better chance of being approved then filing an appeal of the denial.

Finally, another consideration is that, right now, a new application for naturalization, N-400, would likely be processed faster than an N-336.  In Boston, my immigration law office has seen applications for naturalization processed and approved in 4-5 months.  But, in my experience, USCIS Boston District Office often fails to schedule N-336 hearings within 180 days of filing, as the immigration regulations require.  And don’t expect a final decision on the day of your N-336 hearing, particularly if your immigration case is complicated.

In the end, you should decide how to challenge the denial of an application for naturalization   based on the facts and the law, in consultation with good immigration lawyer.

If you need legal advice how to appeal the denial of your N-400, application for naturalization, please call my Boston immigration office at 617-722-0005 and set up a consultation today.

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