Know before you apply. Here are the top reasons why U.S. citizenship through naturalization applications are rejected or denied.

Clerical Errors and other Filing Mistakes

Applications are often rejected for preventable mistakes like clerical errors. This includes:

  • Filing an incomplete application
  • Not signing the application
  • Sending the incorrect fee

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Failed Citizenship Test

Most applicants are required to take a citizenship test which includes the English portion and a civics portion. You have two chances to take the English and civics tests for each application. If you do not pass any part of the test during your first interview, you can take that part of the test again between 60 and 90 days from when you were first interviewed.

The English Test

The English test is 3-part: speaking, reading, and writing.

The speaking portion takes place throughout the entire interview. The USCIS officer who is conducting the interview is judging your ability to understand and speak basic English.

The reading test requires you to read one sentence in English. The writing test requires you to write one sentence in English.

The Civics Test

The civics test is a 10-question test. In order to pass, you must get 6 questions correct. The 10 questions are chosen from a list of 100. Click on the link below to download all 100 civics questions.

Not Meeting the Citizenship Eligibility Requirements

Your N-400 application for citizenship will be denied if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements. There general requirements for naturalization are:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  • Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

Having a Criminal Background

Having a criminal background could prevent you from becoming a citizen. The USCIS can deport a permanent resident for any of the below reasons. If you fall under any of these categories, you should speak to an attorney.

  • Smuggling
  • Marriage fraud
  • Criminal offenses including:
    • Crimes of moral turpitude
    • Aggravated felony
    • Failure to register as a sex offender
    • Use of controlled substances
    • Certain firearm offenses
    • Domestic violence, stalking, and child abuse
    • Trafficking
    • Falsification of documents
    • Espionage or sabotage
    • Terrorist activities