Why Was Your N-400, Application For Naturalization Denied? 6 Common Reasons Explained

Getting eligible for and then applying for naturalization to get U.S. citizenship is a long-held desire for many who seek the American dream. But the journey until here is long, tedious and shrouded with anxiety. After years of patiently waiting for a green card, diligently preparing for tests and finally taking the oath, there are many reasons why your application might be denied.  Here we discuss the most common reasons why your Form N-400, Application For Naturalization could be denied and what you can do to prevent it. 

Please Note

While the reasons for denial may be many, the causes listed below is for reference purposes only. If the following scenarios apply to you, we recommend discussing your case with an immigration lawyer.

Failing The English or Civics Tests

One of the most common reasons why your application for naturalization is denied is failing the written or spoken English and/or civics test. While USCIS might give a second chance, it is purely at their discretion. The agency can consider issuing a new date for the interview within 60 to 90 days after your first attempt. If you fail the second time, USCIS will deny your application completely.

Related Article: How To Prepare For U.S. Citizenship Interview & Test

USCIS does offer translators for certain categories of applicants. 

Lastly, some applicants might be eligible for an exemption on the grounds of disability. If eligible, applicants can submit a doctor’s note along with Form  Form N-648 to be considered exempt for the test/interview.

Failure to Meet Continuous Residence In The USA

As a green card holder, and desiring to be a U.S. citizen requires that you have stayed in the U.S. and maintained residence in the U.S for at least 30 months. 

This time frame varies under different situations. For example, applicants married to U.S. citizens or applicants working for the U.S. government have a reduced need to remain the in the U.S. before they can apply for a naturalization. 

As a permanent resident, you may travel outside the U.S. but avoid traveling abroad for more than a six-month stretch at a time. 

Why Was Your N-400, Application For Naturalization Denied? 6 Common Reasons Explained

Failure To File AR 11

A change of address might occur for some applicants while waiting to be naturalized. In the situation that this happens, always ensure that you file an AR 11 that notifies USCIS of your current address and place of residence. This should be done within 10 days of the change of address occurs.

Failure to do so can result in losing your communication and eventual loss of being able to be a U.S. citizen.

Criminal Background

Demonstrating good moral character is one of the most important criterion to be approved for naturalization. As part of the naturalization process, USCIS conducts a thorough background check. And this includes looking into your criminal history. Having a criminal record in your home country or even in the U.S.  goes against your chances of being a U.S. citizen.

Previous aggravated felonies in the form of murder charges, burglary, act of violence or theft that leads to prison time will go against your application and result in rejection. It is recommended that you talk with an immigration lawyer to address these issues before filing your Form N-400.

Failure To State The Truth 

It is imperative that you answer all questions on all forms with honesty and accuracy. Failure to do so can result in immediate denial. Minor and genuine errors are excused but outright lying is not acceptable to USCIS.

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It is important that you verify and check your responses in your application before submitting it. Seeking the advice of an immigration lawyer is always a safe bet.

Failure to Meet Financial Obligations

Being financially stable and able to support oneself is important to USCIS before they can approve your application for U.S. citizenship. Its obligatory to meet certain financial obligations before being approved for your Form N-400 application. Serious financial issues like amassing heavy debt, failure to pay taxes and the inability to support yourself and your dependents financially can be an issue with your application approval.

Fulfill all the obligations and be cognizant of the above requirements and you should be okay for taking the oath as a Naturalized U.S. citizen.