An appeal is a way to ask a higher authority to review an immigration decision. There are two main places to file an appeal: the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
- The AAO is a branch of USCIS that reviews some decisions made by USCIS officers about visas, green cards, citizenship, and other benefits.
- The BIA is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. It reviews decisions made by immigration judges and USCIS officers about removal (deportation), asylum, and waivers of inadmissibility.
- Both of them conduct a paper review and issue a written response that agrees or disagrees with the decision or allows the original office to review the case again and issue a new decision.
- Neither of them hold hearings or accept new evidence and the appeal must be filed within 30 days.
If the AAO or the BIA decision is not satisfactory, a federal court can review the case. Moreover, federal courts have limited jurisdiction over immigration matters and can only review questions of law.
In certain situations where filing an appeal is not feasible, you may file a Motion to Reopen or Motion to Reconsider:
- A motion to reopen aims to include new facts, like evidence, showing you were eligible at the time of the original application;
- A motion to reconsider is a request to review the decision because there was a mistake applying the law or policy using the same evidence and facts at the time of the decision.
Attorney Sarah Mu can help you present the strongest argument, advocate your position and successfully navigate the complex immigration system. Please call or email us today to schedule your first consultation.