Appealing USCIS decisions
With all of the importance attached to immigration status, an adverse decision by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be a crushing blow. Remember, however, that this decision is not necessarily the final word on the matter. In many cases, applicants have the opportunity to appeal USCIS decisions. This may only be the beginning, not the end, of updating your citizenship status.
Handle these matters with care
You will typically file an appeal with either the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). You have the right to appeal many different types of decisions, including those involving critical matters such as:
- Visa approvals
- Adjustment to lawful permanent resident status (green card applications)
- Applications for citizenship and naturalization
- Petitions to reapply for admission to the U.S. after a deportation
Because of the importance of these decisions and the finality of the appeals process, it is very important that all aspects of your appeal be handled with great care and attention to detail. This is why it is advisable to consult with an experienced immigration law attorney before initiating an appeal or engaging in any further communication with the USCIS.
Deadlines are important
In most cases, you have only 30 days to file an appeal to a USCIS decision. The notice communicating the agency’s initial decision should include the date of the appeal deadline. Once this deadline has passed, you lose your right to appeal, so do not delay. If you need more time to gather supplemental materials that support your position, you can usually send those after the 30-day deadline, provided your actual appeal is filed before that crucial date.
Work with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer so that you can rest assured you are meeting all necessary deadlines and filing requirements. This is your chance to appeal an adverse decision and you want to make the most of it.