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Naturalization Applicants: Appeal or Reapply?
Not all applications for U.S. citizenship through naturalization are successful. However, there is always an option to appeal or re-apply. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to go about it – most people don’t even know the initial application process well.
Here is what you need to know about reapplying for naturalization or appealing the USCIS’s rejection decision.
First, What Causes Rejection or Delay?
The naturalization process is very strict as the U.S. government is cautious about who it lets in. To this end, any mistakes in the application process can cause rejection or delays.
Delays are not as bad as rejections, but they are a sign that you are doing something wrong. The main cause of delays in your application’s renewals is failure to provide all the necessary information and documents required when filing form N-400. However, agents may choose to give your application further review in case they are unsure about your eligibility.
Rejections are more common than delays, and there is a wide range of causes including:
- Failing English and civics tests
Knowledge of English is perhaps the most basic requirement of becoming a U.S. citizen as it is the national language. What’s more, it beats logic that one can be a citizen of a country that he/she does know well civically and historically. Unfortunately, many people fail the English and civil tests conducted during the initial application process.
- Lacking good morals
Unsurprisingly, most people tend to be on their best behavior before receiving their green cards but tend to break the law after getting them. Breaking the law after receiving your green card is one of the biggest causes of naturalization rejection.
- Leaving the country during your period of permanent residency
Applicants are required to reside in the U.S. for five years after getting their green cards. Traveling is allowed but with limitations when it comes to how much time you can spend outside the country. Spending too much time outside the country can be a cause for rejection.
What Does Appealing Involve?
You have two options when your application is rejected: reapply or appeal. Reapplying basically involves all the processes of the initial application process (including the fee payment). Appealing, on the other hand, is quite different.
Here is what making an appeal involves:
- You have to do it within thirty days after rejection
All appeals have to be made within 30 days of receiving your rejection. The appeal should be made by filing form N-336 and addressing it to the USCIS. Failure to file your appeal within 30 days will have two implications: a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen.
A motion to reopen should only be made if you believe that there is new evidence that can legitimize your application. This motion will be reviewed by the agent who handled your application, and based on the new evidence then he/she may change his/her decision.
A motion to reconsider should be made if you believe that the agent who reviewed your application made an error. In this case, the burden of proving this error will lie squarely on you and has to be applied according to the immigration law.
- Your appeal is reviewed
It will take the USCIS 180 days to review your appeal. It will review your application depending on how you present your case after which it can make one of three decisions. First, it can decide to uphold the denial based on the original grounds of rejection. Second, it can come up with new grounds for denial and uphold your rejection. Finally, it can recognize flaws in the initial decision and approve your application.
If unfortunately, your appeal is unsuccessful, then you can re-appeal through the Federal District Court. In this case, it is the court and not the USCIS that will hear your case.
Avoid the Hassle – Get It Right the First Time
To a trained mind, applying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization is quite easy as long as you meet all the eligibility requirements. Most new applicants are not familiar with the process and hence make small trivial mistakes that cost them big. Smart applicants, however, know to solicit the services of an immigration attorney.
If you are residing in Houston, Texas and are planning to apply for citizenship, then you should really consider consulting a lawyer. What’s more, you should not consult just any lawyer but a reputable lawyer who can give assurances and keep his/her word.
My Visa Solutions is one of the most popular immigration law firms in Houston thanks to its flawless track record of success. We have been navigating the immigration system for over 15 years now, and we will help you through each step to ensure that your application is successful. We are always excited to talk to new clients, so don’t hesitate to get in touch through our website or via phone. Save yourself the hassle by working with the experts!
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