Please Note: This post was published in 2015 and may not contain current information.
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What are immigration appeals?
Losing your immigration case is tough, but it doesn’t have to be the end. At almost every stage of the immigration process, you can file an immigration appeal if things don’t go your way.
In general, an appeal is when a person who has lost a legal case asks a higher court or other authority to review the unfavorable decision. The person who lost the case (the “appellant”) explains to the higher court/authority why the first decision was wrong, and why they should have won their case.
There are several different types of immigration appeals, depending on where you are in the immigration process. Here’s a look at some of the most common kinds of immigration appeals.
Immigration Appeals with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS)
USCIS is the primary agency responsible for issuing and denying U.S. immigration benefits. If you have filed a petition or other application with USCIS, and it is denied, there is often a procedure to seek an immigration appeal.
For example, if you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), and you filed an I-130 family petition that was subsequently denied by USCIS, you may file an immigration appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals.
If you applied to become a U.S. citizen on Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization), and your application was denied, you can file an immigration appeal with USCIS by filing Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings.
Most applications filed with USCIS can be appealed, upon denial, to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The AAO handles immigration appeals for H-1B visas, K fiancé/e or spousal visas, L visas, O visas, P visas, Q visas, T and U visas and the relating adjustment of status applications, I-131 advance parole applications, I-601 immigration waivers, investor visas, various employment visas, N-600 applications for certificates of citizenship, and countless other immigration benefits.
Click here to learn more about immigration appeals through the USCIS AAO.
Immigration Appeals After Immigration Court
If you lost your case in immigration court, there is still hope. You can file an immigration appeal from the judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If you are in immigration detention, your immigration appeal to the BIA will usually take about 6 months.
If you are not in immigration detention, your immigration appeal to the BIA will usually take anywhere from eighteen months to two years.
Finally, even if you lose your case at the BIA, there may still be options for an immigration appeal to a United States Circuit Court of Appeals, or even the United States Supreme Court.
Contact us for more information on Immigration Appeals