Applying for U.S. citizenship is a tedious process that requires patience, persistence, accuracy, and attention to detail. Although most applicants successfully become U.S. citizens on their first trip to the USCIS interview, some applications are denied at this preliminary stage of the process for a variety of reasons.
If you have been denied at your first USCIS interview, know that it is not the end of your journey toward naturalization. USCIS will provide you with a list of reasons for denial and information on how to appeal or reapply, depending on the reason(s) given for rejection.
Florida’s leading immigration law firm, Isa Law, is pleased to share some useful information to help you better understand the reasons for USCIS interview denials and how to avoid them.
Preparing for Your First USCIS Interview
You can never be too prepared for your first USCIS interview. Remember, this is your first shot at becoming a U.S. citizen, and you don’t want to mess it up by not preparing adequately for the USCIS interview questions.
The number one reason applications are denied at the first USCIS interview is because applicants simply weren’t prepared. If you are already scheduled for a USCIS interview, you need to thoroughly review all your application forms — N-400 (Application for Naturalization) — and supporting documents, such as your birth certificate, passport, etc. You must also ensure that all required information is provided before the interview date to avoid requests for additional evidence or delays in the process.
In addition, it is highly recommended to prepare for the USCIS interview by practicing sample citizenship questions with family and friends. The USCIS provides a list of 100 possible test questions that can be used to practice your responses ahead of time. The more you practice, the better you can present yourself in the interview and answer questions with confidence.
The USCIS interview is a critical stage in the naturalization process and can greatly impact your chances of success. You should not skip trying to prepare ahead of time or you may be denied at this initial step, which would result in added costs and further delays.
Common Reasons For Denial At First USCIS Interview
In general, the first USCIS interview is your chance to prove you understand the English language, show that you are knowledgeable about the U.S. government and history, and prove that you have a good moral character; all of which must be checked by the USCIS before an applicant can successfully become a U.S. citizen through naturalization proceedings.
If you have attended your interview on time and brought all required paperwork and documents, but still get denied by the USCIS after your first interview, chances are you failed the English proficiency test or did not demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the U.S. history and government, or possess good moral character.
When this happens, you will be given an N-14 form together with a “results sheet” that outlines the specific reason(s) for your USCIS interview denial, what steps to take next if you wish to continue pursuing naturalization, and the timeframes involved.
What is the N-14 Form?
The N-14 form is an official document that outlines information about your first USCIS interview denial. It is important to review the reason(s) for denial listed on both the results sheet and form N-14 very carefully. If the reason for denial is because of a mistake on your application form or supporting documents, that issue can most likely be corrected and resubmitted very easily. You have 30 days after the interview to submit a corrected application and supporting documents.
Meanwhile, If you failed your English proficiency test at your first USCIS interview, you can enroll in a free English course and complete it before taking another interview. On the other hand, if you failed to show sufficient knowledge of the U.S. history and government, you can consider taking up civics class at your local library to better prepare for your next interview. The USCIS will usually schedule the second interview within 60-90 days of the initial interview date so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for it.
However, if you were denied because of alleged bad moral character issues, this will be much more difficult to overcome. You will need to find a way to prove the allegations are false and take the necessary steps to build your case. For example, if you were accused of lying on your application form or supporting documents, you will need to provide evidence showing they are true and correct; maybe even submit affidavits from witnesses who can testify in support of your character.
But, if you feel or know that something else is at play, you may need to consult with an expert U.S. immigration attorney for legal help and advice on how best to proceed with your naturalization application.
Retain the Services of an Experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney
If you’re denied at your first USCIS interview, don’t give up hope. The majority of applicants are likely to be approved after their initial denial if they continue following proper procedures and take necessary steps towards correcting any mistakes or issues that may have led to a negative result.
However, if you find yourself in a position where you cannot overcome the reason(s) for your interview denial, it’s best to seek help from an experienced immigration attorney like Isa Law so they can review all aspects of your application and determine an effective strategy moving forward.
Moreover, if you don’t want to find yourself in pre-citizenship limbo, you should consider hiring an immigration attorney before your first USCIS interview. Starting on the right foot with an expert immigration lawyer by your side will increase your chances of going through the naturalization process without any problems.
If you are looking for a top-rated immigration law firm in Miami, FL, Isa Law is the office to call. For years, we have helped countless individuals and families obtain citizenship and realize their own versions of the American dream. We are highly-experienced with all aspects of U.S. immigration law, so you can rest assured knowing we will assist you every step along the way to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Contact Isa Law at (305) 938-067 to start your journey towards obtaining your U.S. citizenship today.