Skip to main content

Immigration & Naturalization Law

Search for an Attorney  

Four Reasons Citizenship Is Denied

There are several reasons why your application for citizenship in the United States may be denied. Therefore, it is important that those who seek to become citizens know about them to be prepared.


If the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) discovers that the applicant owes taxes, their application will most likely be denied.

However, if you show that you are making an effort to pay what you owe, this will be a point in your favor.

If you owe taxes and want to apply for citizenship, it is best to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and make a payment plan to pay off your debt.

Child Support

If you are the parent of a minor and do not live with your child, you will need to send proof that you are paying for child support along with your U.S. citizenship application.

If there is a written agreement or court order stating how much you must pay, send a copy of the agreement or order.

Also, send evidence of checks or deposits to the account of the parent who has custody of your child.

If you pay in cash, have the other parent sign a receipt. The important thing is to have proof that you are up to date with your child support obligations.

If you are behind in paying child support, naturalization may be denied. However, if you show that you are making efforts to catch up on your payments, your application may be granted.

Selective Service

Males between the ages of 18 and 26 must register with the Selective Service System if they were a permanent resident of the country between those ages. When submitting your application, you will be asked for your Selective Service number.

The consequences of not registering depend on the age of the applicant:

  • Men under 26 years of age. The person is still in time to register and fulfill the obligation. You must register before submitting your application.
  • Men between 26 and 31 years old. The general rule is that the citizenship application will be denied. The exception is that the applicant shows their failure to register was unintentional.
  • Men over 31 years of age. The application will not be denied for failure to register with the Selective Service. So if you didn’t register with the Selective Service when you were supposed to, it is best to wait until you are 31 before submitting your naturalization application.

Good Moral Character

Applicants for citizenship must demonstrate that they are of good moral character.

The general rule of thumb is that USCIS will look at the person’s actions five years before the application. However, when the lack of morals is severe, USCIS may consider past conduct, such as:

  • Criminal record. Applicants who have committed serious crimes, such as homicide or other serious crimes, cannot be naturalized. Misdemeanors only prevent citizenship if less than five years have passed since they were committed.
  • Dishonesty. If the immigration officer discovers that the applicant lied in their application or interview, the application will be denied.

The term “good moral character” is broad, and USCIS believes that the following behaviors also demonstrate a lack of good moral character:

  • Crimes with the intention of harming a person – these crimes include causing injury to another person or cases of domestic violence
  • Crimes against the government involving fraud or malicious intent – an example would be not paying taxes
  • Drug offenses
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Prostitution
  • Polygamy
  • Lying to obtain immigration benefits
  • Being in prison for more than 180 days
  • Terrorist acts
  • Persecuting other people because of their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or social group

If you think you might need additional help because of any of the above information, working with an immigration attorney can make all the difference.

Was this helpful?