Becoming an American citizen is a dream for millions of people in the country. The process of even just becoming eligible to apply for naturalization is a long and arduous one. People naturally hope that once they have met those requirements, becoming a citizen is fairly easy. However, the N-400, Application for Naturalization is much more complicated than many people think, and approximately 10% of applications are denied every year. If your application has been denied, it is important that you do not give up. You still have several options available that can help you become a citizen.
The first step in appealing the decision is to file Form N-366 within 30 days of receiving notification that your naturalization decision was denied. If the USCIS mailed the notice, you have 33 days to file Form N-366. You must also send the filing fee when sending in the form.
After filing, you will have a hearing scheduled within 180 days from the date you filed for an appeal. At the appeal hearing, you can present any new evidence that could persuade a judge to overturn the original decision. An immigration lawyer will know what evidence to collect and can make strong arguments in your case.
Sometimes, re-filing a new application makes more sense than appealing the decision. For example, if you were previously denied citizenship because you committed a crime, it may make more sense to re-file rather than appeal. Immigration authorities will only consider the last five years of your presence in the United States so, if that time has passed, re-filing could secure a positive outcome. Likewise, if you were denied because you did not remain in the United States for the required amount of time but that no longer applies, you may also choose to re-file.
You can also file a motion to reopen your case if the deadline to appeal your case has passed, but you have new evidence that was not available when you initially applied. An immigration officer will consider the new evidence and determine if it is appropriate to reverse the denial.
A motion to reconsider is similar to a motion to reopen because you are asking the immigration officer to take a second look at your case. However, the difference is that a motion to reconsider suggests that the officer initially made a legal error with your case and does not rely on the presentation of new evidence.
Being denied citizenship is incredibly disappointing, but it is important not to give up. You still have many options to obtain citizenship, and our Chicago immigration lawyers at Kriezelman, Burton & Associates can help. We will advise on the facts of your case, determine what the most appropriate option is for you, and help you through the entire process. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
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