On What Grounds Can I Be Denied U.S. Citizenship?

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On What Grounds Can I Be Denied U.S. Citizenship?

Many green card holders dream of becoming U.S. citizens. However, this is not automatic because a green card holder must still qualify and get approval for citizenship from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Unfortunately, many who apply are denied citizenship for various reasons. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, we have experienced immigration attorneys who help clients in the Chicago area to successfully apply and get approved for citizenship.

Eligibility for U.S. Citizenship

U.S. citizenship for those not born in the U.S. is obtained through a process known as “naturalization.” This process requires the applicant to first submit Form N-400 Application for Naturalization to the proper (USCIS) office.

Before filing the application, the applicant must satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years old when submitting the application.
  • Must be a green card holder for the past three or five years, depending on which category under which they are applying for citizenship.
  • Must have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
  • Must be able to speak, write and read English basic English.
  • Must have good moral character.
  • Must demonstrate an understanding of basic U.S. history and government.
  • Must show loyalty to the U.S. Constitution and
  • Must be willing and ready to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Eligibility to apply for U.S. citizenship, however, is only part of the naturalization process. Once USCIS receives an application from someone who is eligible for citizenship, an immigration officer will determine whether the applicant is disqualified to be a U.S. citizen on other grounds. An application for citizenship can be denied on various grounds, including the following, which are the most common.

Failure to Meet Financial Obligations

One of the reasons applicants get surprised when applying for citizenship is failure to pay child support. If an applicant has been ordered by a court to pay child support, but they have failed to do so, then this will be grounds for denying their application for citizenship. It is, therefore, important if you have ordered child support to make sure you are current or discuss with an experienced immigration lawyer what your options are.

This is also true for an applicant who has failed to pay taxes or is behind in making payments as agreed with the IRS. This is one of the most common reasons many citizenship applicants are denied, but, as in the failure to pay child support, there are options that one can pursue. For example, one can contact the IRS and arrange with them to pay the outstanding taxes. 

Fraud in the Application

If an applicant for citizenship lies on the application or during the naturalization interview or there is evidence of fraud, then the application for citizenship will be denied on this ground. 

The application can also be denied simply because the immigration officer suspects fraud, in which case the onus will be on the applicant to prove there is no fraud involved. Fraud is typically established if the applicant for naturalization provides information on their application or says things during their interview that are contradicted by facts.

USCIS will usually provide the applicant an opportunity to overcome the fraud finding or suspicion. If that is the case, then the applicant greatly improves their chances of overcoming this fraud finding with the help of an experienced naturalization lawyer.

If you are in the Chicago area and are applying for citizenship, contact our office today and schedule an appointment for a consultation to learn how we can help you.