The 10 Most Common Reasons A Citizenship Application Is Denied

The US immigration service receives many forms every day. However, form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is by far the most common. What once was a four-page document has now grown to more than 21 pages. Many choose to fill in this complicated form on their own, without professional help. Consequently, when they are denied, they have no clue why.

It may not seem difficult to become an American citizen, but there are many significant details that cannot be overlooked. Any errors on this application could impede your citizenship application.

Why US Citizenship can be denied?

If you’re wondering why most applications are rejected, here is a comprehensive list of the top 10 reasons why form N-400 can be denied.

1. Not Registering For The Selective Service

Any male who wants to get citizenship in the US must also register for the Selective Service. If a person fails to do so, then their application can be denied. Unfortunately, if a person is denied because of this reason, then they will not be able to refile until they are 31 years of age. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and to challenge it you will have to prove that failing to register for the selective service was not willful, in addition to filing extra paperwork.

2. Having A Fraudulent Green Card

The US immigration service will look into the history of the applicant. They will see when the green card was issued and will want to verify if it was issued in a fraudulent manner. If they discover fraud, they will deny citizenship. It doesn’t matter if the fraud was an innocent mistake or if it was done deliberately. In the worst case scenario, the applicant can be served papers and be made to appear before a judge for deportation proceedings.

3. Having A Criminal Record

The immigration expert will review past criminal history before approving an application. For instance, they will look for any arrests, citations, or any violation of the law that is on a person’s record. Some criminal offenses (though not all) can be reason for an automatic denial of citizenship. Any crime committed by someone who is trying to become a citizen is grounds for an immediate hearing with the immigration court for deportation.

4. Lying on the Citizenship Application

Anyone that puts deceptive or outright false answers on their application will be denied. An easy way to falsify would be to check the “no” box asking if a person has been arrested. They may make this choice because they were never charged for their crimes, but any errors of this nature can prove to be falsification. The US immigration service will thus deny your citizenship.

5. Failure To Pay Taxes

Before filing a citizen application, make sure that you do not have any outstanding tax obligations. Even a tax bill to the IRS can be overlooked if you are on a payment plan. Those who do not pay their taxes will find that their application will be refused.

6. Failure To Pay Child Support

Another sure way to botch the N-400 citizenship application is by owing back child support. Making timely child support payments is just as important to the department as paying taxes.

7. Proficiency In English

The main language in the US is English. To become a citizen, you must have some level of proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading the language. They are looking for a certain command of the language, and many study aids are available out there.

However those who are 55 or older and have held their green card for 15 years can take the civics test with the help of a translator. Additionally, a waiver is available for those who are medically disabled and whose disability affects their ability to sit for the test. The Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, form N-648, must be completed by a doctor. It must state that the person is disabled and cannot understand some or all of the test.

8. Doing Poorly on the US Citizenship Interview

The US naturalization interview is a formal proceeding that is done under oath. If you have an attorney, they should also be present. During this interview, the citizenship application is reviewed.

You will be asked if there are any changes to your original application, and your command of the language is tested. If at any time during the interview they feel uncomfortable with your answers or responses, they can deny your application. These examinations can be quite nerve-wracking, but they are meant to help weed out those who are serious about being a citizen from those who are not. They are watching for inconsistencies in your application or anything else that raises suspicions.

9. Green Card Renewal Failure

The green card renewal process should begin about six months before the card expires. This will help to ensure there is no lapse in authorization. If your green card has expired, it can be grounds for a denying an application.

10. Failing The Civic Test

There are 100 questions on the test for naturalization; however, the interviewer will only ask the applicant 10 of these questions. The applicant must answer 6 out of the 10 questions correctly. A failed test is a reason for denial.

Becoming an American citizen is no easy feat and can seem daunting. Moreover, as the post above shows, any series of snags or mistakes along the way can make for a very costly reapplication, which makes it all the more important for you to file correctly the first time and avoid being denied.

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