Immigration Appeals Attorneys

Appealing USCIS Denials of Petitions or Applications

Most unfavorable decisions by the USCIS can be challenged by filing an appeal or motions to reconsider or reopen with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). Some cases such as family based petitions are appealed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). However, certain applications such as such as the I-485 Application to Adjust status do not allow for an appeal in the case of a denial. Regardless of whether a motion or an appeal is filed, the filing deadline is 30 days from the date of the denial. If the denial was mailed to the petitioner or applicant, then an additional three days are added to the filing deadline. USCIS may exercise its discretion only in the case of Motions to Reopen if it can be shown that such an untimely filing was made with good reason and should be excused.

The difference between filing an appeal or a motion to reopen or reconsider is that in an appeal, a higher adjudicating body is being asked to review the decision of a lower body. When a motion is filed, it is with the same adjudicating body which most recently heard the matter. In the case of a denied petition or application, a motion to reconsider or reopen would be filed with the USCIS.

A Motion to Reconsider is filed when the argument is that USCIS misapplied or misinterpreted the law or the facts as applied to the law. The supporting evidence would like include a legal brief along with the particular case law, regulations, or policy which support your position. A Motion to Reopen on, however, is filed when new evidence has been made available which was not available during the initial filing. Also, such a motion is appropriate when there have been a change in the circumstances which would have been material to the initial determination.

If you have received a denial of your petition or application filed with USCIS, contact