Precedent Decisions

An Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision may be designated as a “precedent decision” by the joint approval of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Attorney General. 

Precedent decisions are legally binding on the DHS components responsible for enforcing immigration laws in all proceedings involving the same issues. In addition, absent any controlling judicial precedent to the contrary, federal courts give greater deference to AAO precedent decisions, as well as to non-precedent and adopted decisions that follow the same legal reasoning of a precedent decision. 

The U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review publishes AAO precedent decisions in bound volumes entitled Administrative Decisions Under Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States, as well as on its DHS/AAO/INS Decisions webpage.

If you are looking for information regarding the AAO’s non-precedent decisions, visit the AAO Non-Precedent Decisions webpage. If you are looking for information regarding Adopted AAO Decisions, visit the Adopted AAO Decisions webpage. 

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