Applicants and petitioners for certain categories of immigration benefits who have received an unfavorable decision from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may be able to challenge such decisions by filing an appeal with the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).
USCIS explains that the AAO was created in 1983 in an effort to centralize the appellate review process and provide for timely and consistent decisions. Prior to the establishment of the AAO, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) commissioner, four regional commissioners, and three overseas directors shared responsibility for performing administrative appellate review and issuing precedent decisions.
INS subsequently created the Legalizations Appeals United which was responsible for adjudicating appeals of denied Legalization and Special Agricultural Worker applications. In 1994, INS combined these two units into the AAO. With the abolishment of the INS in 2003 and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the AAO became a part of USCIS.
If you have received a negative decision from USCIS, a Maryland immigration appeals attorney at our firm can assist you with filing an appeal with the AAO or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), an office within the Department of Justice. The denial notice that you received will state if your decision is subject to appeal and explain where you need to file an appeal. Additionally, you may be able to file a motion to reopen or reconsider your case even if you do not have the right to appeal the decision.
USCIS provides that the AAO is responsible for conducting administrative reviews of appeals “to ensure consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration law and policy.” The AAO exercises appellate jurisdiction over nearly 50 different types of immigration cases, including the following:
It is important to keep in mind that not all immigration benefit denials are subject to appeal. Additionally, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has jurisdiction over certain categories of appeals. Moreover, in addition to the categories of appeals set forth above, the AAO has jurisdiction to review decisions by the USCIS Service Centers to revoke certain previously approved petitions.
In most instances you will only have 30 days from the date of your decision to file an appeal with the AAO. When you are filing an appeal it is important to make certain that you are complying with all of the filing requirements applicable to your type of appeal (the requirements will differ depending upon your specific immigration category).
At Miranda & Weisman, LLC we understand that the appeal process can be confusing and stressful. We also know that it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Maryland immigration appeals attorney to help you sort through complex appeal procedures and requirements.
Filing an appeal is too important to perform incorrectly. If you have questions about the appeals process or another immigration matter, contact our Towson immigration law firm today, or call 410-321-4994. We offer a free initial consultation and are committed to helping you successfully navigate your way through the U.S. immigration system.