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Citizenship Denied - Can I Apply Again?

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I lost my citizenship case. Now what? Hi. I'm Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer practicing law and providing immigration services throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, DC. 

If my citizenship application gets denied, can I apply again?

Yes, you can apply again if the reason for denial can be addressed.

However, if the reason for your denied citizenship cannot be changed, reapplying likely won't be successful.

Key Takeaways:

  • Denial of your citizenship application (n-400) doesn't mean the end because there are options.
  • Gathering evidence to prove that the USCIS made a mistake is a crucial step.
  • Consulting with immigration lawyers is recommended to understand your options after a denial and determine if reapplying is a good course of action.


Appealing a Citizenship Denial for Past Incidents

We have a long-time client who we represented many years ago who applied for citizenship recently. His case was denied. He was predictably very upset after receiving a denial letter from the USCIS, and I understand his frustration. His citizenship application denial was due to some minor criminal activity and traffic stuff many years ago. Well beyond the five years of good moral character that UCSIS is required to look back at when determining whether or not to give someone their citizenship. For this guy, they went back to 2007, 2009, 2012. This was many, many years ago. I believe that their decision was wrong. 

Nonetheless, the client was very upset. In fact, he was so upset that he didn't reply to us. He had his secretary send us a fax to tell us how upset he was.

What we did

We were able to talk to him and walk through the N-400 denial and why we think USCIS made a mistake. We recommended that he file an appeal. When your N-400 is denied, you file an N-336, which is a request for rehearing by another immigration officer at the same level or a higher level. You get to go to USCIS and present to them why you think they made a mistake

In fact, when the N-336 hearing begins, the immigration officer usually reads through the file and says, "Okay. Jim or Andrew, or Manny, or whoever, you guys say that we made a mistake. What mistake did we make, and what evidence do you have that you should have your client naturalized?"

In this particular instance, we have good guidance. Because lately, in this particular field office, there have been three or four cases that we've had where we thought that USCIS was really stretching in denying the N-400 and that their rationale for denying it was, again, well beyond the five years not warranted under the law. 

Hire a St. Louis Citizenship Lawyer

Hiring an Experienced Immigration Attorney

But when you get your N-400 denied, these are the questions you need to ask yourself. 

  • Is it worth appealing? 
  • Did they make a mistake? 
  • Am I right? 
  • Should I be a citizen? 
  • Are they wrong under the law? 

Sometimes you might want to wait and refile; sometimes, you might want to appeal. 

This is one of those things that I think really helps to talk to an experienced immigration lawyer who knows the field offices because you can predict how a field officer might respond and what you might expect at the hearing. This is one thing that takes a little bit of sophistication, a little bit of nuance, and a little bit of history with the field office to understand what the best bet is in each case. Sometimes they're right when they deny a naturalization case. In those situations, that's probably when you're going to wait and refile or try to figure something else out.

Parting Thoughts

If your United States citizenship application gets denied, here’s what you should do:

  1. File the N-336
  2. Pay the filing fee
  3. Show up for the interview

If you have any questions about the naturalization process or if your N-400 has been denied, feel free to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called the Immigrant Home. We hope you liked this video and that you shared out on social, and you subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also, please remember that on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon central time, you'll find us live in our Immigrant Home Facebook group and on the YouTube channel, answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible. We can give pertinent information about the naturalization proceedings, including taking the naturalization test, and even represent you at the immigration court. 

Thanks a lot, and have a great day.

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