An appeal is a request to a different authority to review an unfavorable decision. You may appeal certain USCIS decisions to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA and the AAO are administrative appellate entities that have jurisdiction over different types of immigration cases.
USCIS Denial of Initial Petition
If the USCIS denies your initial petition filed on your behalf; for example, a Form I-129F (for fiancés of U.S. citizens), I-130 or (for family-based immigrants) the best thing is usually to overcome the issues that led to denial – if possible – and start over and file a new one. This is true even if a lawyer is helping you. There is an appeal process, but you are likely to spend less time starting over, and the fee is about the same. Besides, no government agency likes to admit it was wrong, and may deny your appeal, so there is a tactical advantage to getting a fresh start.
If you applied for other benefits such as adjustment of status (a green card) in the U.S. and received a USCIS notice telling you that your application was denied, read the notice carefully. One of the things USCIS will tell you is whether you can appeal the denial. In some instances, there is no appeal after a denial. If the law allows you to appeal, there will be a fee and a deadline for filing the appeal. You do not want to miss this.
If you’re not allowed to appeal, you can file a motion to have your case reopened or reconsidered. These motions are different than an appeal because you’re basically asking the same entity
who that denied your case to reconsider its decision. You can file a motion to reconsider if you believe your case was wrongly denied or a motion to reopen when you’re your situation has changed or new facts have come to light.
For more in-depth overview of the appeal process, see also the following pages on this site:
- An Overview of the Board of Immigration Appeals Process
- An Overview of the Administrative Appellate Review of the USCIS Officers’ Decisions
Contact us at Immigration Solution for a free consultation if you have been denied immigration benefit and need to explore your options.