What if My Naturalization Application is Denied at the First USCIS Interview?

Applying for U.S. Naturalization can be nerve wracking especially if you do not pass the tests and you are given a rejection notice. Make sure that you do your best at the first interview, but do not panic if your citizenship is not approved immediately.

There are many reasons why an immigration officer will not approve an application for U.S. citizenship at the first naturalization interview. Consider these examples:

  • you did not pass the English or Civics test,
  • or you did not include a relevant supporting document such as a marriage certificate or a criminal record,
  • or if you are helping a family member (who has a disability) apply for citizenship by requesting a disability waiver of one or more of the naturalization tests, and you submitted the incorrect edition of the Form N-648 that applicants must use when petitioning for a waiver.

Regardless of the reasons, failing at obtaining a certificate of naturalization at the first interview is not the end of the world. If you or a relative faces a denial for a naturalization application, ask an immigration attorney to help you and ask the right questions.

Ask for the Reasons for Denial in Writing

Ensure that the USCIS officer has provided you or your relative the results for a denial in writing. Whether the officer is asking for new documents, forms or even more information, the officer should complete a form known as Form N-14, Request for Evidence. That specific form will show the outcome of the interview. It should specify whether the USCIS officer gave the applicant a Form N-14. In the Form N-14, there will be a list of additional documents, forms and even information the officer will need in order to make an ultimate decision on the naturalization application. There will also be instructions stating how and when USCIS wants to receive the items:

  • Whether by mail at a certain date or
  • In person at the next interview appointment

The N-14 Form instructs both you and the next immigration officer conducting your interview, of the additional supporting documents that are being requested. The information on the N-14 must be clear.

If you doubt that the N-14 is clear, and you do not understand what the officer is asking for; courteously ask the officer to rewrite the request and explain it to you. If the officer does not fulfill your request, ask to speak with a supervisor.

Reply Appropriately to the Requests Given by USCIS

Once an officer asks for additional documents by mail, ensure to include a copy of the Form N-14. Also make sure to:

  • Send via priority mail so that it gets to the USCIS address before the deadline shown on the Form N-14 or on the interview results sheet and
  • Send out submission via certified mail, return receipt requested or through an overnight express mail service so that you will have proof of mailing and receipt.

Retake the Naturalization Examinations.

There is a probability that everything is correct with your application, but you did not pass the naturalization test. Thankfully, a second interview will be allotted to you or your relative within the next 60 to 90 days. (See 8 C.F.R. § 312.5(a) and 8 C.F.R. § 335.3(b).). If you need to study a little more in order to be ready, you can prepare yourself by checking some of the resources made available on the USCIS website.

Maybe you intend on helping a relative who studied hard to learn English but could not pass the Naturalization exams because either:

  • The immigration officer did not give you due consideration by considering your relative’s age, hearing problems, or other needs when conducting the naturalization interview.
  • Your relative has medical problems that are more serious than you realized and might impede him or her from passing the naturalization test due to a disability or impairment.

If your relative falls under the second bullet-point description above, he or she needs to consider filing for a disability waiver of the naturalization. If you or your relative just wrapped up your first interview with an aggressive officer, do not quit. The second interview is usually with another officer, of whom you, or your attorney, or relative can ask for due consideration.

Despite, if the second interview is with the same officer, or a different officer who is not considerate, you can always request to speak with a supervisor. Once you are able to speak with a supervisor you can explain your situation. It is also important to have an attorney accompany you for the second interview.

Retain the Services of an Immigration Lawyer

Getting your U.S. citizenship will require the services of an attorney. Do not start the process U.S. Naturalization alone. To be more certain that you will get positive results contact The Gambacorta Law Office, at 847-443-9303. Our team of attorneys are very experienced and will guide you every step of the way.