What are your rights if USCIS denies your N-400 Application for Naturalization?

If your N-400 Application is denied, USCIS will send you a notice of denial that will explain why it reached a negative decision. The notice will include a statement explaining your right to either accept the denial or request an administrative hearing for review. If you decide to request a hearing, you will need to submit Form N-336 within 30 days of receiving the decision denying your N-400.

What happens at an N-336 hearing in L.A.?

Often an N-336 hearing closely resembles the ordinary naturalization interview that all N-400 applicants attend. The N-336 hearing is also conducted by a USCIS immigration officer.

The standard for review is de novo, which means that N-336 review is not limited to grounds for N-400 denial. To explain what this means, let’s say, for instance, that USCIS denies your N-400 because it mistakenly determines that you have a criminal conviction. To challenge the denial, you file Form N-336 and, at the hearing, you provide persuasive evidence that, in fact, you have no criminal convictions whatsoever and that, therefore, the grounds for denial were erroneous. USCIS could then turn around and affirm the denial of your N-400 for other reasons entirely! And, unfortunately, that is how de novo review often plays out in the N-336 context.

Should you file an N-336 appeal or file a new N-400 application for naturalization?

Even though you have the right to file Form N-336, does pursuing such an appeal make sense? Perhaps a more effective method to reverse the denial would be to file a new application for naturalization, N-400.

Whether to file either an N-336 or a new N-400 is a critical strategic decision. immigration attorney in Los Angeles Joshua L. Goldstein can help you determine the best course of action based on the specific details of your immigration case and his extensive experience with complex citizenship and naturalization cases.

How long does the N-336 citizenship appeal process take?

By regulation, USCIS must schedule the N-336 review hearing within 180 days of the date of the appeal, as also stated in this article on Stilt. But in practice, it often takes much longer to get the hearing. N-336 processing times can be highly unpredictable. Sometimes the officer approves the N-400 at the conclusion of the N-336 hearing. But if the appeal present complicated issues of fact or law, USCIS might not reach until after it completes an extensive and lengthy review.

What happens if USCIS affirms the denial of your N-400 application and, thus, you lose the N-336 hearing?

If USCIS affirms the denial of your N-400, then you have the right to file a subsequent appeal, which is a petition for review in federal district court. And, unlike the N-336, once in federal court, your naturalization denial will be reviewed by an independent federal judge who does not work for USCIS.

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How Can a Citizenship Appeals Lawyer Help You?

If you believe your application for naturalization was wrongfully denied, contact our LA office immediately to schedule an appointment. Our immigration lawyers can help you determine whether an N-336 appeal is prudent. And if so, we can win your citizenship case by preparing a thorough and persuasive N-336 appeal. Call us today at (213) 262-2000 and see how our Los Angeles citizenship appeals lawyers can help you!