The N-336:Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings Form

The N-336:Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings Form

Sometimes an application for naturalization is denied. Maybe your interview didn’t go well, you didn’t provide all of the required information, or you failed your test. However,  if you think the USCIS made a legal mistake in denying your case, then you can appeal. 

The N-336 form is what you will file after receiving a denial letter for your N-400, the application for naturalization. This form serves as an application for a hearing with another immigration officer to review your denial.

This blog post will provide guidance on how to fill out the N-336 form and what the hearing process is like.

Should I Appeal a Denied N-400? 

It’s easy to get disheartened when you receive a denial letter from your N-400 application for naturalization. However, there are many circumstances when you should appeal. The denial may have been based on incorrect information, the decision may have been improperly handled, or you might be able to provide additional information to support your application. 

There are times when United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) pushes the limits of the law, so an appeal is how you argue that your application for naturalization should be reconsidered for acceptance. While the denial letter can be difficult to parse due to the regulatory and statutory language, it includes important information about why your application is being denied and will help you determine if an appeal is appropriate. 

The first question you’ll be asked at your review hearing is what mistakes were made in denying your N-400. An immigration attorney can uncover those mistakes and help you build your case. 

How to Request a Hearing 

When your N-400 is denied, you’ll get a written explanation in the mail explaining the reasons for the denial. There will be a date on that denial letter and you’ll have 30 days from that date to file your appeal. 

Don’t wait. You should file as soon as you can after that denial letter is received because, if you miss the 30-day window, you won’t be able to appeal and you’ll have to start the naturalization process over again.

The processing time for the N-336 application is within 180 days. You’ll receive a notice in the mail notifying you of your hearing date, time, and location. Once you’ve received this notice, it’s important to begin preparing for your hearing. This may include collecting evidence and arranging witnesses. An experienced attorney can help you through this process and ensure that you’re prepared for your hearing. 

When you have submitted your evidence and given your testimony to USCIS, the new officer assigned to your case will o review any information you submitted previously. They may also request you provide additional evidence or testimony.

How to Fill Out the N-336 Form 

The N-336 form must be filled out completely and accurately for your request for an appeal hearing to be processed. The form is seven pages long, and you will fill out basic information like your name, address, date of birth, place of birth, alien registration number (if applicable), and signature. You will also document any interpreter or preparer who helped with the form, if applicable. Additionally, you’ll submit a copy of your Form N-400 denial, and outline the reasons you are requesting a hearing. 

When you’re ready to file Form N-336, there are a few other things you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Most importantly, the USCIS will not accept a stamped or typed name in the signature box, so you will need to print the documents. 
  • Make sure to use black ink or type the information onto the form. 
  • Never lie about any of the information. If they request information not relevant to your case simply type N/A in the form field. 
  • Each page of the form should also include your Alien Registration Number (A-Number) at the top right corner. If your A-Number is fewer than nine numbers, be sure to place zeros before the first number to ensure that there are nine numbers total.

You can file the form online or by mail. The mailing address will vary depending on which state you live in, but USCIS provides those instructions

Filing Fee for Form N-336

The filing fee for Form N-336 is $700. Additionally, the biometric services fee is $85. If you cannot afford to pay the fees, you may request that the fees be waived. To request a waiver of the fees, you must complete and submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. It’s also important to note the filing fee is not refundable regardless of the USCIS final decision. 

Your check must be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the funds must come from a bank or financial institution located in the United States. 

What Happens at the Naturalization Hearing? 

The hearing is different from your citizenship interview experience. You will have an opportunity to present evidence and argue why you believe the decision to deny your application for citizenship was incorrect. 

An immigration officer will preside over the hearing and will make a decision based on the evidence presented. It is important to note that hearings are typically conducted in English. However, interpreters are available upon request.

Hearings are generally informal but are still conducted according to certain rules and procedures. For example, witnesses may be called to testify and evidence may be presented in support of or against your claim. After all of the evidence has been presented, both parties will have an opportunity to make closing statements before the immigration officer makes a final determination.

If, after reviewing all of the evidence and hearing both sides of the argument, the immigration officer determines that your application for citizenship should have been approved, he or she will approve your application and schedule you for an oath ceremony. 

If the immigration officer determines that your application for citizenship was denied appropriately, he or she will deny your appeal and you’ll have to wait five years to refile an N-400.

Should You File a New N-400 Instead?

If your application was not wrongfully denied, you can file a completely new application. There is a chance that the original reason for denial will be irrelevant at a later date. 

Here are some reasons why a new application might be a better option than filing Form N-336:: 

  • You’ve failed your literacy or civics knowledge test—Applicants have two chances to pass the naturalization exams. If you failed both times, it might be best to prepare for the exam and wait to file a new application. 
  • You were denied based on a crime, incident, or behavior that occurred in the last five years— Part of the requirements for the N-400 form includes demonstrating good moral character for five years (or three years if your spouse is a U.S. Citizen.). If you have been denied based on a conviction or other evidence that you don’t meet these criteria, you cannot argue that the officer’s denial was incorrect. However, you can wait to file a new N-400 until after five years have passed from the incident in question. It’s important to note that any other arrests or convictions that occur during those five years could result in a denial of the new application.
  • You don’t meet the continuous residence requirement—An applicant for the N-400 must have lived in the United States for at least five years or three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen. You can submit a new application after you meet this requirement. 
  • Failing to register for Selective Service—Failing to register for Selective Service can result in a denial of your N-400 application for naturalization. Selective Service is a system that the United States uses to draft military personnel in the event of a national emergency. While there has not been a draft since 1973, all male U.S. citizens and legal residents between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register with the Selective Service. USCIS will provide an opportunity for the applicant to prove they did not knowingly or willfully fail to register or that he was not required. In some cases, it might be better to submit a new N-400 at age 31 if you are applying based on five years of permanent residence or age 29 if you’re applying based on three years of permanent residence while married to a U.S. citizen. This allows you to meet the criteria of showing good moral character while maintaining continuous residence in the United States for 3-5 years, depending on your application.

Consult with an Immigration Attorney 

If you think there was a legal mistake that caused your N-400 to be denied, it’s best to consult with an immigration attorney. Sometimes the right course of action is to appeal and other times it is best to wait and refile your N-400. 

An experienced immigration attorney at Scott D. Pollack and Associates can help you navigate your next steps.  Reach out to us today by calling 312.444.1940 or filling out an online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you

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