Administrative Appeal | Immigration Appeal


Administrative Appeal | Appealing an Immigration Decision

Administrative Appeal – A party that is displeased or unsatisfied with the outcome of a lawsuit for obvious reasons can file an appeal. If an immigrant’s application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is denied, the judgment can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). An appeal is an application, mostly in writing, to the authority to review an unfavorable decision. Appeals can end in one of three outcomes: the initial judgment may be reversed and dismissed, modified, or left unchanged. 

Each administrative judgment in the context of immigration must first be appealed to a higher-level administrative agency, depending on the case. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), formerly known as the Administrative Appeals Unit, are the two principal administrative appellate authorities that supervise immigration appeals (AAU).

Types of Immigration Appeals

Immigrants must go through a variety of appellate processes. These procedures are determined by the immigrant’s petition or application, whether the individual has valid immigration status, and whether the immigrant is detained in an immigration detention facility.

There are five main types of immigration appeals:

  • Appeals before the AAO;
  • Appeals before the BIA;
  • Criminal alien appeals;
  • Habeas corpus, Mandamus and APA actions;
  • Petitions for Review to U.S. Courts of Appeals;
  • Motion to reconsider/motion to reopen.

What types of immigration issues can be brought before the Administrative Appeals Office?

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) examines decisions made by officers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

The AAO can hear appeals on around fifty various forms of immigration applications and petitions, including:

  • Most employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visa petitions.
  • EB-5 immigrant investor petitions.
  • Temporary Protected Status applications.
  • K-1 Fiancé(e) visa petitions.
  • Applications for a waiver of inadmissibility.
  • Applications for permission to reapply for admission after removal / deportation (I-212 waiver);
  • Certain special immigrant visa petitions.
  • Orphan petitions.
  • T visa applications for victims of human trafficking and related adjustment of status application.
  • U visa petitions for victims of criminal activity and related adjustment of status application.
  • Applications for certificates of naturalization and citizenship.
  • Applications to preserve residence for naturalization purposes.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) determinations that a surety bond has been breached.

How to File an AAO Appeal?

When the USCIS declines an application, the agency sends the applicant a letter detailing why the application was denied. The letter will include instructions on how to file an appeal or a motion for reconsideration if the decision is one that can be challenged.

The majority of appeals must be filed using Form I-290B of the United States Customs and Immigration Service.

I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion

Use this form to file:

  • An appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO); 
  • A motion with the USCIS office that issued the latest decision in your case (including a field office, service center, or the AAO); or
  • Certain appeals of the denial of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Form I-17, Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student, with the ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

You should not use this form if you:

  • Are the beneficiary of a petition. Generally, only an applicant or petitioner may file an appeal or motion.

(NOTE: If you are the beneficiary of a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and USCIS will have revoked your approved Form I-140 and advised you that you may file a motion or appeal. You may then file a Form I-290B. Please include the USCIS revocation notice with your Form I-290B)

  • Want to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Appeals of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, fall under the appellate jurisdiction of the BIA. The BIA also has jurisdiction over appeals of immigrant petitions that widow(er)s have filed using Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. You may file an appeal with the BIA using Form EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. 
  • Want to appeal a USCIS “no risk” determination under the Adam Walsh Act. You may seek further review by filing a motion to reopen or reconsider on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, but there is no appeal available from such a determination.  
  • Want to appeal a Department of State consular officer’s denial of your U.S. visa application (Forms DS-156, DS-156E, DS-156K, DS-117, DS-157, DS-230, or DS-260). Please visit the Department of State website for information about U.S. visa application denials.
  • Want to appeal a Special Agricultural Worker or Legalization application. You must file these appeals on Form I-694, Notice of Appeal of Decision, Under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Where Should I Put My Files?

Use the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion page to send your appeal or motion to the correct address.

(If you or someone you know is looking for help with an immigration appeal, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.)

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