A Benefit of Litigating a Naturalization Case in Federal Court

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Once a lawsuit is filed in federal court on a naturalization application, the district court reviews the application de novo (or anew). This means the court is not bound by any prior findings or decisions made by USCIS. This is in recognition of the tremendous value of citizenship rights. Further, many courts have held that once a lawsuit is filed, USCIS no longer has jurisdiction (or authority) to decide the case, as it now exclusively belongs to the court. Of course, the plaintiff can agree to send the case back to USCIS to approve or further consider the matter as part of settlement of the lawsuit. In other words, once a suit is filed, the plaintiff decides who adjudicates his/her case, not USCIS.