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Top 5 Reasons for U.S. Citizenship Denial

Top 5 Reasons for U.S. Citizenship Denial

The Top 3 Reasons for U.S. Citizenship Denial

Between 700,000 and 750,000 people complete naturalizations ceremonies in the U.S. each year, becoming U.S. citizens in the process. The Immigration Service receives numerous immigration forms every day. But by far, the most common is Form N-400, the form for naturalization to become a US citizen. At over 21 pages, filling out this long and complicated form without the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney can be risky. For immigrants, becoming a naturalized citizen is a dream and the culmination of hard work, time, and dedication. But many hopefuls can have their dreams dashed when their N-400 application is denied. Below are just a few of the reasons why an application for U.S. citizenship can be denied.

1. Having a Criminal Record

An application for US Citizenship requires a showing of “Good Moral Character.” This means have a very clean criminal record – especially during the most recent five years (the “good moral character period). As such, if you have any arrests or convictions, you will need to speak to an experienced immigration attorney before filing for Citizenship.

2. Not being proficient in English.

Being proficient writing, speaking, and reading English is a requirement for obtaining U.S. citizenship. Fortunately, there are numerous programs and classes people can take to increase their English proficiency levels. But there are a few exemptions to taking the English test for becoming a U.S. citizen.

People who are 55 years old and older, and who have had a green card for at least 15 years can take the test with the help of a translator. Individuals who are disabled and whose disabilities impact their ability to sit for an examination can get a waiver from the testing requirements. The exemption is Form N-648, and a doctor must complete the form. The form must indicate that the intended test taker is disabled and that their disability impacts their understanding of some or all of the test. An immigration law firm can help individuals obtain the correct form for exemption from testing.

3. Failing to pay taxes or child support.

Before someone files for a citizenship application, it’s important that they do not have outstanding tax bills. Being on a payment plan to the IRS typically won’t result in an application denial, but completely failing to pay taxes will. Also, owing back child support will result in an application denial.

4. Not registering for the Selective Service.

Men who are applying for citizenship to the U.S. must also register with the Selective Service. Failing to register will result in the application being denied. This reason for denial can be especially harmful to hopeful U.S. citizens. If an application is rejected for this reason, the applicant won’t be able to refile until they are 31 years old.

It’s possible to obtain an exemption for this requirement to citizenship and challenge the denial. But, applicants must prove that their failure to register for selective service wasn’t intentional. An immigration lawyer can also help applicants complete the additional paperwork for an exemption for selective service.

5. Have problems with your Green Card.

When you apply for Citizenship, immigration will review your whole immigration record – including how you obtained your green card to begin with. If they discover that your green card was improperly issued, or if they discover that you lied or that there was fraud in your underlying Green Card application, USCIS can deny your citizenship case and give you a Notice to Appear in court to initiate removal proceedings.

These are just a few of the common reasons why citizenship get denied. There are more! As you can see, applying for U.S. citizenship can be a complicated process, and there are many technicalities and requirements in the application that can’t be overlooked or ignored. An incomplete or erroneous application can hurt an immigrant’s chances of becoming a U.S. citizen. For assistance with filling out Form N-400, please call Landerholm Immigration, A.S.P. at 510-756-4468 to schedule your confidential consultation.


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