What happens if my naturalization case is denied?
You know, we get this question a lot about what happens exactly when our naturalization case gets denied, so the typical scenario where in someone filing for a naturalization on their own.
That form is N-400 and it involves them filling out a bunch of information about the background, talking about how they got their lawful permanent residence, asked about crimes and other kinds of activities that would make someone ineligible for naturalization and after they go to their interview, they get a notice in their mail telling them that their case has been denied.
Sometimes you might get a notice of intent to deny and that’s a letter before they deny that basically says that we see some problems with your case. We’re thinking about not naturalizing you but giving you a chance to respond and supplement the record.
Now in those situations, people often do come and get another attorney and that’s a good idea because if your case is about to be denied, you’d probably need legal help in order to fix it. but in other instances, people will just file it on their own and the case gets denied. And you should know there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna get that notice of intent to deny, they can just flat out deny it for whatever reasons they can fit.
Alright, so your case has been denied and now you come to us, our office and you now ask us for help. Of course we wish you’d come to see us earlier but in that point that’s one other bird so we don't spend much time dwelling on that or beating other clients about that.
The form that you file to file an appeal of the denial of your naturalization column N-336 is just a technical name for a way for you to appeal and you have to understand that this is an administrative appeal, it's not like trial or anything at this stage. What happens here is that you basically file a form that says what you think the error was, why you think immigration was incorrect when they decided to deny your naturalization case and you can submit whatever supplemental evidence you think is the right thing to do to help show how your case was mishandled by the agency.
The thing that’s not so great about N-336 is that for the most part, you’re basically just going down the hall from the officer that denied you to another officer who’s typically their friend or at least their co-worker and their asking their co-worker that hey your buddy down the hall made a mistake when he or she denied my naturalization case.
In many ways, the N-336 is a rubber stamp. We have seen many instances in which the N-336 is decided very quickly without much independent analysis, you are entitled to another interview and usually at the interview is where we sit down with the officer and really advocate for our clients with our clients help to try to show what the error was but you have to understand these officers are being asked to say that their buddy did something wrong and a lot of officers aren’t willing to do that to their credit someone but really when you thinking about appealing and naturalization, you really need to think about the long fight because it's very unlikely that you’re gonna get any relief at the N-336 stage and a lot of times we tell our clients that this is sort of a rubber stamp that you need to file just in order to get to the next stage and the next stage is going to federal district court.
If you have your naturalization case denied then if the agency denies your N-336 then you have the ability to go into federal court and have a judge decide what’s called “de novo” which means all new, that the judge isn't going to be bound by the decision of USCIS. This is an independent federal judge she’s appointed for life who’s not beholden to the immigration service, who doesn’t get paid by the immigration service and really is going to give an independent assessment of whether or not the particular person deserves to become a citizen. There can even be a mini trial as to whether or not the person is a good moral character and meets all the statutory requirements.
Now you should know that in some instances the agency really take things in their heels and fights these cases tooth and now but in some situations the agency looks at it a new and it sees it that gonna have to explain itself to a federal judge and we have had a lot of clients get relief at this stage so if your naturalization case is denied, you have to have that long term view, you have to be willing to think two steps or three steps ahead to understand that you might not win at the end N-336 stage and at the real shoot and match is when you get to federal court, that’s where you’re gonna have your best chance of independent review.
So if you have any questions about the appeals process of filing the denial of N-400, give us a call 314- 961-8200 or you can email us at [email protected]. Thanks!