Administrative Appeals Office

Administration Appeals Office For Immigrants

Sometimes the government disagrees that an applicant or a beneficiary is entitled to a specific immigration benefit and denies an application or petition.  If your application is denied, you may request a second review by filing a motion to reconsider, a motion to reopen or by filing an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office.

What is a Motion to Reconsider?

If the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) denies an immigration benefit, the applicant can ask for a second review of the application by filing a “motion to reconsider” within thirty (30) days.  Applicants should hire an immigration attorney to file a Form I-290B and a legal brief with the motion to reconsider.  The legal brief should establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of the initial decision.  A motion to reconsider is based on legal grounds alone.  A “motion to reopen” is based on facts.

What is a Motion to Reopen?

A “motion to reopen” may be filed with the District Director to reopen petitions and applications based on new facts or evidence, or change in the law or policy that makes the relief available.  If the application is for asylum or withholding of removal, changed circumstances in the country of nationality may be submitted as new evidence.  A statement of the facts, affidavits and other documentary evidence should be submitted.  Reasons for a motion to reopen may include:

  • The evidence requested in the Request For Evidence was not material to the issue of eligibility
  • The required initial evidence was submitted with the application or petition, or the request for initial evidence or additional information or appearance was complied with during the allotted period
  • The request for additional information or appearance was sent to an address other than that on the application or petition or notice of representation, or was not sent to a new address stated in a change of address sent to the Service

What is the Administrative Appeals Office?

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) reviews the decisions made by the USCIS adjudications officers on petitions and applications for immigration benefits to ensure consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration laws, regulations and policies.

Decisions issued by the AAO are posted online.  The decisions are first forwarded to the USCIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office so that any personally identifiable or proprietary information can be redacted properly to protect the parties before the decisions are available online.  Click here to visit the AAO’s website.

How Can an Immigration Attorney Help?

The immigration appellate lawyers at Keyser Law Firm will review USCIS case denials and prepare an analysis of motions to reopen, motions to reconsider and will draft a strategic appeals plan.  The USCIS often makes small clerical errors or even major legal errors that result in an unfair denial of an application.

Contact our immigration appeals attorneys for a free case analysis and consultation.