Having a naturalization application denied is a difficult experience for an aspiring US citizen. A naturalization application may be denied for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that the alien's moral character was at issue. In order to naturalize the alien must show that s/he has had good moral character for the last five years. An US Citizenship and Immigration Services officer might deem an applicant to lack good moral character for a variety of reasons including criminal convictions, failure to pay child support, illegal gambling, alcoholism, drug abuse, failure to register with the Selective Service, and adultery are just a few potential reasons.
While the denial of a naturalization application can be disheartening, there is good news. There are two opportunities to appeal the denial. Within 30 days of being notified of the denial, the alien must file a request for administrative review, form N-336 (Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings). The N-336 should be filed with the local USCIS district office that denied the N-400 naturalization application. The filing fee must be included with the N-336. Once the N-336 is filed, an administrative review hearing will be scheduled within 180 days.
The administrative review hearing will be conducted by a new immigration officer. The new USCIS officer will review the naturalization application and conduct another interview and examination. The most important aspect of the appeal is generally the legal brief arguing that the application was denied in error. The brief should be well researched and written in order to convince the USCIS officer that the application was mistakenly denied. The USCIS officer may either affirm the denial of the application or redetermine the initial decision.
If the second USCIS officer affirms the denial, the next possible appeal is through the federal district court. The district court can review the application after a petition for review is filed. The petition must be filed with the federal district having jurisdiction over the area in which you live. The standard of review for the federal district court is de novo, which means the court is reviewing the application without any regard for the previous two denials by USCIS. The petition for review must be filed within 120 days of the administrative denial by the second USCIS officer.
The appeal process is complex and generally extremely law-focused; therefore, it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney representing you and writing the legal brief arguing for approval. The Nuñez Firm has vast experience with all aspects of the naturalization process including appeals. Managing attorney Jay Nuñez has helped many clients obtain naturalization through the appeal process. Contact The Nuñez Firm today to schedule an immigration consultation.
How The Nuñez Firm can help you: If there is a denial of a naturalization application or an intent to deny the application, it is imperative that the applicant move promptly to fix the situation. It is possible to solve the problem and get the application approved without the need for an appeal or deportation proceedings, but the applicant will need an attorney that is well-versed in dealing with these situations. The Nuñez firm can work with the Immigration Officers and attempt to convince them to grant the application. This can avoid the need for an appeal and possible deportation proceedings. If necessary, we can represent you in an appeal to have the naturalization application granted.