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Chapter 5: Motion to Reopen

A. USCIS Motion to Reopen

An officer must execute a motion to reopen a previously approved naturalization application if:

  • USCIS receives or identifies disqualifying derogatory information about the applicant after approval of his or her application prior to the administration of the Oath of Allegiance;[1] See 8 CFR 335.5. or

  • An applicant fails to appear for at least two ceremonies to take the Oath of Allegiance without good cause.[2] See 8 CFR 337.10.

USCIS notifies the applicant in writing about the receipt of derogatory information or multiple failures to appear through the motion to reopen. The applicant has 15 days to respond to the motion to reopen and overcome the derogatory information or provide good cause for failing to appear at the Oath ceremony.[3] See 8 CFR 335.5.

If the applicant overcomes the derogatory information and qualifies for naturalization, the officer denies the motion to reopen and schedules the applicant for the Oath of Allegiance. If the applicant is unable to overcome the derogatory information, the officer grants the motion to reopen and denies the application on its merits.[4] See 8 CFR 336.1.

USCIS must not schedule an applicant for the administration of the Oath of Allegiance if USCIS receives or identifies disqualifying derogatory information. USCIS must not administer the Oath of Allegiance to the applicant until the matter is resolved favorably.

An applicant who fails to appear for at least two ceremonies to administer the Oath of Allegiance without good cause abandons his or her intent to be naturalized. USCIS considers multiple failures to appear to be equivalent to receipt of derogatory information after the approval of a naturalization application.[5] See 8 CFR 337.10.

B. Motion to Reopen Administratively Closed Application 

An applicant may request to reopen an administratively closed naturalization application with USCIS by submitting a written request to USCIS within one year of the date his or her application was administratively closed.[6] Generally, military applicants may file a motion to reopen at any time. See Part I, Military Members and their Families, Chapter 6, Required Background Checks, Section C, Ways Service Members may Meet Fingerprint Requirement.  The applicant is not required to pay any additional fees. USCIS considers the date of the applicant’s request to reopen an application as the filing date of the naturalization application for purposes of determining eligibility for naturalization.[7] See 8 CFR 335.6(b). USCIS sends the applicant a notice approving or denying the motion to reopen.


1. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 335.5.

2. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 337.10.

3. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 335.5.

4. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 336.1.

5. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 337.10.

7. [^] 

 See 8 CFR 335.6(b).


Legal Authorities
INA 310, 8 CFR 310 - Naturalization authority
INA 335, 8 CFR 335 - Investigation and examination of applicant


Date Details
January 7, 2013

Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

​USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.

Read more »

Current as of April 8, 2014