Applying for citizenship is always an exciting time for a person’s life. The naturalization process is done through the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services by filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were 843,593 U.S. Naturalizations in 2019. Citizenship is one of the most intensive parts of immigration and requires diligence and careful attention to detail.
For some who apply for citizenship, they get back a denied citizenship application and are left confused, wondering what possible citizenship denial reasons caused them to not gain citizenship. If you are one of the people who want to know why you were denied citizenship, here are some of the main citizenship denial reasons.
As naturalization attorneys, we often get the question “what are the reasons to be denied us citizenship?” There are multiple citizenship denial reasons and while some may be obvious, others are more obscure. The smallest detail can cause the USCIS to cancel citizenship. Let’s review some of the main reasons why one may receive a denied citizenship application.
A denied citizenship application may be the result of having a criminal record. The USCIS reviews allow your past criminal history before making their decision to accept or deny your application. Some more extreme crimes may merit a court hearing for someone to be deported after applying for citizenship.
To run your background check, USCIS issues a biometrics service exam where your criminal history will be looked at. More serious crimes like convicted murder or aggravated felony will probably result in permanent denial of citizenship. Other crimes like misdemeanors can have major impacts and may cause naturalization denial reasons. You may have to wait a certain amount of time before reapplying for citizenship
Timing is important during your application process. USCIS looks at the past five years from the start of your application for naturalization. If you have been in an altercation with the law in the past five years, even in another country, it is advantageous to speak with your immigration attorney to address the issues and see how to maneuver your individual application.
If you do not pay child support or alimony when you are court ordered to do so, you are committing a criminal offense. The USCIS sees this as you not being in good moral standing. If you pay child support, make sure all payments are processed on time so you will not be seen as failing to pay child support.
Like paying childcare, turning in your taxes on time and paying taxes in full is essential to your path to naturalization. Meeting your financial obligations shoes the USCIS that you are responsible and equipped for your good moral standing. If, however, you are having some financial struggles, it is best to be upfront with USCIS about it. If you work with an immigration attorney, USCIS, and a tax adviser, you are showing that you are working towards bettering the issue. Not doing so could result in the USCIS finding out about financial strife which is one of the main citizenship denial reasons.
It is essential for every piece of information on your Form N-400 to be truthful and factual. Even if you make an accidental mistake, the USCIS could see this as a deception and be cause for a denied citizenship application. If you are unsure about a question or information you need to provide, speak with your immigration attorney. We can help you put in the best effort to find the information. You must prove to the USCIS that even the obscure details that you are unsure of have been researched. If you do not know about some travel history, you must show that you put in your best attempt to find the information.
If information is incorrect, you may be deemed as lying on your application and not stand in good moral character. Incorrect information may also be seen as an attempt to falsify who you are as a person to try to get to citizenship faster.
If by some chance there was fraud with your past green cards, the USCIS will be able to track that down as well. If you are questioning the integrity of your application, a past green card, or the information you need to provide on your Form N-400, it is best to speak with your naturalization attorney.
Not being in the U.S. for the correct amount of time may result in the refusal of citizenship application. You need to be a continuous resident before applying for naturalization, meaning that you need to be a resident in the United States for a specified amount of time in the past five years. Depending on the conditions of your stay, the time range changes. Regardless of your visa, traveling outside the United States for six months should be avoided.
An important step towards naturalization is being prepared for the interview portion of your application process. When meeting in person with a USCIS examiner for your citizenship interview, you will take a civics test and spoken interview. If you fail the first time, you will be allowed to retake the test and/or the interview within 60-90 days. However, if you fail the second time around, your citizenship may be denied.
It is in your best interest to thoroughly prepare for your interview and exam. Your immigration attorney can help you get ready and feel prepared for your meeting.
One of the most common citizenship denial reasons is by failing to register for selective service. If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you are expected to register for selective service. Doing show fulfills part of the good moral standing requirement for naturalization. Your application can be denied if you do not show your willingness to defend the United States in the event of a crisis.
Citizens are allowed a multitude of rights, including the right to vote, travel outside of the United States, with a U.S. Passport, and help their family immigrate to America. Those who were denied citizenship in the United States are not allowed to participate in the rights of citizens of the United States. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) with a green card, you are still allowed your rights within the confines of your visa.
If your application for naturalization was denied, contact the immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. We can answer your questions about the denied application and next steps that we can take to possibly reapply for citizenship. Contact us at 312.444.1940 today for your immigration needs.