Reviewal of Denied or Delayed Citizenship Application
The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Can Help
If your citizenship or naturalization application has been denied by the US Citizenship & Immigration Service, and if you believe the denial is not warranted, you have several options to overcome such denial. The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates can help, as we have successfully represented clients in naturalization appeals.
We recommend that you first explore an administrative review prior to resorting to litigation because such reviews are more cost-effective than court review and could yield faster results. If the administrative review does not overturn the prior denial, we would then suggest that you consider judicial (court) review. Furthermore, if your naturalization application has been unnecessarily delayed or has taken an unreasonable amount of time to process, we would certainly recommend that you discuss judicial review to get your case reviewed in a more reasonable time frame.
Administrative Review – Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings
If your naturalization is unlawfully denied, or you believe that the USCIS officer did not consider all of the relevant factors in reviewing your citizenship application, you could seek another hearing before an immigration officer. Our team can prepare you for the second hearing.
One of the advantages of requesting another hearing is that you are given another chance to submit evidence in support of your case. For instance, if your case was denied because you did not submit the certain type of evidence, you could submit this evidence during the rehearing. In addition, your attorney will have an opportunity to submit a legal brief summarizing the laws and regulations to the facts of your case thereby explaining to the USCIS why your case merits approval. You must be aware, however, that you will be subject to another English language and civic examination during the rehearing process.
The request for rehearing must be filed with the USCIS within 30 days of the denial of the citizenship application. Once the USCIS received the request for rehearing, they will send an appointment letter to the attorney of record and to the applicant advising with the new appointment date. By regulations, the new appointment must be scheduled within 180 days from the filing of the request for rehearing.
This step is highly recommended as the applicant will get a shot at having the prior denial overturned. It is a cost-effective approach to challenge a denial of the citizenship application.
Court Review of Denied Citizenship or Naturalization Application
We have previously recommended seeking an administrative review of the denied citizenship application. If your citizenship application remains denied after a Request for Hearing, you may ask a federal judge to make a decision on your application for citizenship. The request for hearing before the judge is made in the form of a complaint for review filed in the US District Court having jurisdiction over your place of residence. The federal court judge will conduct a de novo review of your application. This means that the judge will not be bound by any of the findings and conclusions previously entered by the USCIS; instead, the federal judge will render his own decision independently. The federal judge will allow you the opportunity for a hearing if you so desire.
You should be aware that a Request for Hearing must be filed within 120 days from the date of the last administrative action. It is worthy to note that some jurisdictions have extended this deadline to six years.
Contact us if your citizenship application has been denied and you wish to have your case reviewed in federal court. The founder of the law firm is a member of an exclusive society class of litigation lawyers who have achieved more than two million dollars in a single settlement or verdict in a single lawsuit.
Requesting Court Intervention in Cases of Long Citizenship Application Delays
In some instances, the USCIS may delay the processing of naturalization applications to an unreasonable extent. Some applicants wait years prior and it seems that the USCIS will never make a decision in their case. In those types of cases, the applicant can request the Court's intervention in the matter. There are two different types of litigation depending on where the citizenship application is in the process. If the citizenship application has not been scheduled, then a mandamus case is appropriate to file; but if the applicant has been interviewed by the USCIS, the law requires the USCIS to make a decision within 120 days afterward. If the USCIS fails to issue a decision in this timeframe, the applicant could request a judicial review of the application. The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates is here to help if your case has been delayed unreasonably. Our Columbus immigration attorneys are versed in all immigration matters and have represented clients in immigration matters against the USCIS in federal court.
Mandamus Action: Delays in Scheduling Interview or Making a Decision
Mandamus relief is available if your citizenship application has been pending for several years and there is no hope in sight. Mandamus is a court action sought by an aggrieved party to compel the government in most cases to follow the law. In the context of citizenship applications, it is most suitable when an applicant’s case has been delayed by the USCIS for years and she has not been interviewed yet. In a mandamus action, the Court will not be reviewing the application for citizenship. Rather, the judge may order the USICS to make a decision by either approving or denying the case.
Petition for Review: Delays in Decision after the Citizenship Interview
The law unequivocally requires the USCIS to render a decision in a citizenship application 120 days after conducting an interview with the applicant. If the USCIS fails to issue a decision within 120 days, the law allows the applicant to seek judicial intervention in the form of a petition for hearing under 8 U.S.C. §1447(b). Unlike mandamus actions that seek to compel the USCIS to make a decision, a petition for hearing allows the federal judge to review the application and issue a decision granting or denying the application itself or to return the application back to the USCIS to render a decision.
Historically, the USCIS has blamed the FBI for the delay in making a decision on the background check. This is an outrageous claim, as most FBI background checks are concluded in a few months and certainly do not last for years. Notwithstanding any pending FBI checks, some federal courts have ruled that the law requires the USCIS to render a decision even in the absence of clearance from the FBI.
Seek Help from Our Firm
If you believe that your application for citizenship has been improperly denied, you can seek either an administrative review or a judicial review of the denial. It is recommended that you first seek an administrative review as it may be a cost-effective measure to overcome the naturalization application denial. You must remember that the USCIS sometimes takes unreasonable positions. Other times the USCIS takes a position completely contrary to law. Our Columbus immigration lawyers are experienced and have handled complex immigration matters successfully.
If your case has been dragging on for several years without a light at the end of the tunnel, contact one of our immigration lawyers to discuss your case.
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