AAO Practice Manual

About the Administrative Appeals Office Practice Manual

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) conducts administrative review of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers’ decisions regarding immigration benefit requests in order to promote consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration law and policy. We have appellate jurisdiction over approximately fifty different types of immigration applications and petitions. 

The AAO Practice Manual describes rules, procedures, and recommendations for practice before the AAO.  It is organized into seven chapters, including:

  • An overview of our office, history and jurisdiction;
  • Guidance for attorneys and accredited representatives about the representation of parties before the AAO;
  • Information regarding appeals, motions, and certifications;
  • Instructions on how to contact us; and
  • Additional resources.

The AAO Practice Manual also includes a keyword search function, table of contents, and links to relevant Immigration and Nationality Act and Code of Federal Regulations sections in order to make it easier to find relevant information. Citations to statutes, regulations, case law, authoritative sources, and other explanatory references generally appear in footnotes rather than the body of the text.

We will update the AAO Practice Manual periodically.  We welcome and encourage the public to provide comments and propose improvements.  Please mail or fax any comments or suggestions to us with “AAO Practice Manual” in the subject line.  See Chapter 6.1 of the AAO Practice Manual for our contact information.

The AAO Practice Manual does not replace or modify any legal authority or USCIS policy.  It does not create any substantive or procedural right or benefit that is legally enforceable by any party against the United States or its agencies or officers or any other person.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/18/2018