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How Cases Are Filed With The AAO
You will receive a letter from USCIS if your immigration petition or application is denied. The letter will explain the reason(s) for the denial and if you may file a motion or appeal of the denial decision. Many petitions and applications have motion and appeal rights if they are denied.
What are Motions and Appeals?
A motion is a request for a denied case to be reviewed because the petitioner believes USCIS incorrectly applied applicable immigration law (a motion to reconsider) or a pertinent fact(s) of the case was not considered in the decision (a motion to reopen). A motion is reviewed and decided by the office that made the original decision in the case.
An appeal is a request for an office independent of the original deciding office to review a denial decision due to incorrectly applied immigration law or a missed or misinterpreted pertinent fact(s) of the case.
Generally, appeals of family-based visa petitions are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and other immigration appeal issues are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The denial letter will provide the details of where to file an appeal.
How Do I File a Motion or Appeal?
Some motions or appeals are filed on USCIS Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion); others are filed on forms from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Your denial letter will explain if an appeal or motion can be filed on the decision, what form to use, where to file and the filing deadline. Review the denial letter carefully for this information so the motion or appeal is correctly filed.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/25/2010