Delays/Denials of Naturalization Applications
If your application for citizenship through naturalization is denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you still have options. If you believe there were no grounds for the denial of your application, you can choose to challenge the decision.
The first motion you can pursue is requesting an administrative review of your application by another immigration officer. A new hearing gives you a second chance to submit items you may have forgotten the first time around or re-submit the supporting evidence for your case if you believe the first officer overlooked important aspects of your application. A request for an administrative review must be filed within 30 days of the date you were notified of your application’s denial.
To request a hearing, you will have to file Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, with the USCIS office that denied your application. Once your Form N-336 has been received, the appointment for your new hearing will be set up in the next 180 days. You can have an attorney help you prepare for this process. However, you will be required to retake the exams to test your knowledge of the English language and United States history and civics.
If your citizenship application remains denied after your administrative review, you can ask a federal district court to review it. The judge will review it de novo (“from the beginning”), meaning he or she will make a decision independent of any of the previous conclusions drawn by other immigration officers.
What if your application has been pending for a long time?
We have seen many cases where decisions on naturalization applications have been delayed for 3 or 4 years or longer. Despite repeated inquiries, USCIS will simply say the case is under review. These delays happen for various reasons that are not always caused by the petitioner. In any case, delays can add even more stress and pressure onto the individual waiting for a decision to be made regarding their future.
Our office has had a lot of success in getting USCIS to quickly set up interview appointment or make decisions on cases that have been delayed for a long time. If your application has been significantly delayed, you have the opportunity to file a petition for mandamus relief with the federal district court that has authority over your designated USCIS office. The court can order the USCIS office to take action on your application. Often the mere threat of filing a mandamus action is enough to get USCIS to move forward on the application.
Why Hire an Immigration Attorney?
As illustrated above, if your naturalization application is denied or delayed by USCIS, there are a number of steps you can take in response. Including an experienced immigration lawyer when preparing for an administrative hearing or the filing of a mandamus petition will ensure that your documents present your case in the best manner possible. An immigration attorney can also help you troubleshoot any complications that arise. Salmon-Haas have a strong background in all matters of immigration law including denials and delays of naturalization applications. To find out how we help you defend your case, contact us for a free consultation.