Can I appeal the denial of a naturalization application?

In my Consulta Migratoria® column this week, I answer a question from a reader whose naturalization application was denied.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I have been denied two naturalization applications and now they send me a letter giving me the opportunity to protest the most recent immigration decision. Should I pursue my case or is it a waste of money? -Jorge A.

Jorge, you do not give me enough information to determine whether you should fight the most recent denial of your naturalization application that you received from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In order to determine whether an appeal can be made, it is important to know why USCIS denied your naturalization applications and whether they properly complied with immigration law in doing so.

Lack of good moral character, immigration fraud in obtaining permanent residence and not having sufficient time of residence and presence within the United States could be some of the reasons for denying an application for naturalization.

I recommend that you immediately collect all of your immigration records, including previous naturalization applications and denials you received from USCIS, and take them to an immigration attorney to review and determine your legal options. Also, you should bring your criminal records if you have been charged, arrested or found guilty of any crime in the past.

Process for appealing a naturalization decision

If you are denied an application for naturalization and you wish to appeal the decision, you will need to file the Form N-336, Request for Hearing on Decision in Naturalization Proceedings Under the Immigration and Nationality Actwithin 30 calendar days of receipt of the denial notice.

Make sure that on Form N-336 you explain the reasons why you are appealing the USCIS decision and submit supporting evidence for your case. Sign and date the form and include the filing fee, which is currently $720. If you do not have sufficient income and are eligible, submit a fee waiver request.

USCIS will reject a Form N-336 that is not filed on time or does not include supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization under immigration law. USCIS will not refund the filing fee if the form is rejected because it was not filed by the deadline.

If you do not file Form N-336 on time, but the documents you submit meet the requirements for a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider, USCIS will issue a decision in your case. To avoid this type of confusion, be sure to file Form N-336 on time.

Please consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.