The ultimate goal for most, if not all, non-citizens who are living and working in the United States is naturalization. Once naturalized, they’re already considered full-fledged citizens, enabling them to take advantage of becoming a U.S citizen, like the right to vote, immunity to deportation, having a U.S. passport, and many more.

One of the first steps of becoming a U.S. citizen after receiving a green card is to submit the N-400 form. However, even if it’s a simple form, there are plenty of reasons why your N-400 will be denied. To help you have a smooth transition, make sure to avoid the following pitfalls.

Failing the English and/or Civics Test

If an applicant fails the English and/or Civics test during the interview, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) will advise you to come back for another interview, which is usually two to three months after the first interview. This way, an applicant is given ample time to review the tests. However, if the applicant fails the second interview, their N-400 form will be denied.

If you’re not confident about your English writing or speaking skills, you can always utilize helpful resources, which are both available online or at the disposal of a reliable immigration attorney. You can also try learning more about speaking and writing with a friend or family member.

If you fall into these criteria, you can be exempt from taking the English portion of the naturalization test:

  • Age 55+ with more than 15 years of permanent residence in the U.S.
  • Age 50+ with more than 20 years of permanent residence in the U.S.
  • Diagnosed with a physical or mental disability, which makes learning English difficult. In this case, make sure to file USCIS Form N-648 along with the N-400. A medical professional must sign the former to prove the authenticity.

Possess a Criminal Record

Before approving an applicant’s naturalization application, experts will undergo a thorough background check to look for any past criminal history. Some criminal offenses may be the reason for an automatic denial of the application.

Here are some examples of criminal offenses that won’t be tolerated:

  • Committing two or more offenses that accumulate at least five years of total sentence
  • Committing a crime against the government
  • Committing a crime against another person
  • Violating any controlled substance law
  • Practicing polygamy
  • Illegal gambling
  • Failure to pay court-ordered alimony payments, taxes, or child support

Once an applicant has any of these crimes on their criminal record, they’ll be subject to a hearing with the immigration court for deportation.

Not Registering For the Selective Service

Any male who wants to apply for U.S. citizenship must register for the Selective Service. Failure to do so may result in the denial of the application. If an applicant is denied because of this reason, they won’t be able to apply for citizenship until they’re 31 years of age.

Of course, there are a few exemptions to this rule, such as when an applicant is placed in a hospital, mental institution, or long-term care facility.

Failure to Meet Financial Obligations

Before submitting Form N-400, it’s crucial that an applicant must not have or overlook any financial obligations, like taxes and child support.


Those who don’t pay their taxes or overlook any tax bill to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) may result in the refusal or denial of their application.

Child Support

Fulfilling the responsibility of child support payments is equally important to the USCIS as paying taxes. So, an applicant must double-check that they don’t owe back any child support payments.

Clerical Errors

Making any clerical errors on the application can result in rejection. Take note, however, that rejection isn’t the same as denial. The former will give applicants an opportunity to clarify and correct any mistakes they make. However, resubmitting any form after a rejection is time-consuming and expensive.

Here are some common mistakes applicants make that warrant a rejection:

  • Failing to provide a signature
  • Submitting an incomplete application
  • Sending the incorrect fee

The best way to avoid this problem altogether is to consult with an immigration attorney. As experts in the field, they’re capable of double-checking any forms before submitting them to the USCIS, saving you time and money.

Lying On the Application

Unlike making any clerical errors, intentionally lying on the application, such as giving outright false answers, will be denied by the USCIS. Hence, fill the entire form honestly.

One common mistake that’s considered a falsification is checking the “no” box when asked if a person has been arrested. If an applicant completely abides by the law, then there won’t be any problem. However, if they’re caught but were never charged for the crimes they committed, it’ll be considered falsification.

Call an Immigration Attorney Now!

As you can see, there are many ways to mess up the naturalization process. Thus, if you’re seeking protected status, permanent resident status, asylum, or citizenship for yourself or a loved one, make sure to contact an immigration attorney from Bovino Law Group now!

By doing so, you’ll have the assurance that you or a loved one’s naturalization application will be taken care of by experts in immigration law.