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] or

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

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] 

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] 

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] 

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] 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] 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.

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 [12 USCIS-PM I.6(C)]. 

7. [^] See 8 CFR 335.6(b).

INA 310, 8 CFR 310 - Naturalization authority

INA 316, 8 CFR 316 - General requirements for naturalization

INA 318 - Prerequisite to naturalization, burden of proof

INA 332, 8 CFR 332 - Naturalization administration, executive functions

INA 335, 8 CFR 335 - Investigation of applicants, examination of applications

INA 336, 8 CFR 336 - Hearings on denials of applications for naturalization

INA 337, 8 CFR 337 - Oath of renunciation and allegiance


No appendices available at this time.

POLICY ALERT - Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

January 07, 2013

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


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