When someone applies for citizenship, they file a form called an N-400. That is an application for naturalization. However, these applications are not always approved. When that happens, you can file an N-336. It is important to understand this process and the risks associated with it.
If you were denied naturalization and are considering whether to file an N-336, it is important to consult a St. Louis, MO citizenship lawyer. We can help you understand USCIS’s position on an N-366 and evaluate your best options moving forward.
When an N-400 application is approved, the applicant becomes a U.S. citizen. When the application is denied, the claimant has a choice. They can file an N-336, which is a petition for review. This asks someone in the USCIS field office to re-decide the naturalization case. In other words, they have a chance to appeal to a different immigration officer.
An N-336 is sent to someone who is at an equal, or a higher level than the officer who originally denied the N-400, and they are going to look at the legal basis of the denial. This is USCIS’s opportunity to revisit the case and see if they want to overturn it.
For a long time, we thought that these N-336 hearings were counterproductive. It seemed as if it was impossible to get USCIS to reverse itself on an N-336. They would simply uphold the denial. However, over the last couple of years, there has been more flexibility and more actual interest in truly re-evaluating applications.
One example I can tell you about is a recent success that we had. We have a client named Ahkmed. He is originally from Somalia, but he lived in Denver, Colorado and applied for citizenship. His case was pending for a significantly long time, so he asked us to sue them. They went ahead and scheduled him for another interview, which I attended, and the officer was one of the rudest officers I have ever come across. She was not letting us edit the statement that she typed up about what was said during the interview, and it was really just sort of a big mess.
Eventually, USCIS denied that case on a really thin legal argument. Basically, they were saying that my client, Ahkmed, had gone down to Texas and lied about his residency there in order to get a commercial driver’s license. There was no real evidence of this. When we filed an N-336, we got a supervisor to review the denial and made our case explaining why the officer was wrong on the law. We briefed the issue fully and just got word that my client has been approved for naturalization, and in fact, was naturalized just the other day.
So, you can win on an N-336. However, even if USCIS does not reverse itself on an N-336, you still have options. A seasoned immigration attorney can explain the process of appealing following a denial of an N-336.
Getting USCIS to reverse itself on an N-336 is certainly doable. It’s certainly worthwhile, but it is going to take some time to put the case together.
However, it is important to remember that you only have 30 days from the date of the denial to file an N-336. The earlier you file the claim the better. You can brief it and bring extra evidence to the hearing, but at the end of the day, you are going to have to get it on file as early as possible.
You can win on an N-336, but it does not happen all the time. However, it does seem to be happening more and more. So, it is worth taking a shot, especially if you were not represented the first time.
If you have questions about naturalization, or about what happens when your case gets denied, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have a Facebook group called Immigrant Home. To learn more about USCIS reversing its position on an N-336, reach out to our skilled St. Louis, MO citizenship lawyers.