What Are The Reasons to be Denied US Citizenship?

America has 22 million+ naturalized citizens. Every year 860,000+ people apply for naturalization. However, only 23% of all citizenship applications are approved by the USCIS. The reasons for denied US Citizenship applications vary wildly. The most common reasons include;

1. Lying on your application

If the USCIS has reason to believe you have lied or provided deceptive/untrue information on your application, your Citizenship application will be denied or delayed. It's worth noting that this applies to innocent errors. The importance of filling your application with utmost care can't, therefore, be overemphasized. The USCIS checks application information provided thoroughly. If you can't answer a question, consult an attorney first before you fill-in Form N-400.

2. Having a criminal history

The USCIS collects a person's biometrics when processing citizenship applications. Criminal background checks are done to establish a person's criminal activities in the US and beyond. If you have a criminal background/history, your chances of being denied citizenship are very high. The USCIS is interested in individuals of good moral character only. Serious crimes will permanently disqualify a person from becoming a US citizen. Minor crimes may bar someone temporarily.

For instance, individuals found guilty of murder or other serious crimes like aggravated felony are denied US citizenship permanently. The USCIS policy manual (Volume-12, Chapter-4) highlights reasons for permanent bars in regards to good moral standing requirements.

3. Failing to meet financial requirements

While having debt isn't a prerequisite for disqualifying US citizenship applications, some financial issues will affect a person's moral character qualification. For instance, a person who hasn't complied with their tax obligations i.e., doesn't pay tax will most likely be denied citizenship. However, if you are honest with the USCIS about the issue and you demonstrate a plan to pay your tax or meet other tax obligations, you can be allowed to proceed with the naturalization process.

Taxes aside, you must be willing and able to support children or minors living with you. The USCIS needs proof that you have adequate financial support. Applicants who abscond child support duties will most likely be denied US citizenship.

4. Poor proficiency in English and/or civics test

Individuals who fail their civics and/or English tests in the initial interview are usually rescheduled for another interview in two or three months. If they fail the retest, they will automatically be denied citizenship. You should prepare for your citizenship test and interview thoroughly to avoid failing. Applicants can familiarize themselves with common questions and review their application since USCIS officers usually ask about answers provided in citizenship applications.

5. Failure to meet basic eligibility criteria

Individuals applying for US citizenship must meet basic eligibility requirements such as be 18 or above when applying, meet the required physical presence requirements, be able to speak, write and read English, and be willing to pledge loyalty to the US.

Summary: What are the reasons to be denied US Citizenship

While there are other reasons for being denied citizenship, you should focus on the above reasons. Preparing thoroughly and consulting professionals i.e., attorneys, if need be, is critical for ensuring you aren't denied US citizenship for avoidable reasons.

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