While everyone hopes their immigration will be approved without any difficulties, it is not uncommon to face a denial of your application or petition. However, this doesn’t mark the end of the process. Appeals give you a chance to fight back against the denial. 

A family law immigration attorney can provide a brief overview of the five types of immigration appeals, including:

  • Appeals before the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)
  • Appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
  • Petitions for review to US courts of appeals
  • Criminal alien appeals
  • Habeas corpus, mandamus, and APA actions

What Are Appeals Before the AAO?

To appeal a denial of an immigrant application or petition, the immigrant can submit an appeal with the AAO or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form must be submitted within 30 days of the decision. In addition to the form, you can include an appellate brief that outlines why the court should grant your application or petition. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you gather the information necessary for this appeal form and draft a compelling brief to give you the best possible chance at a successful appeal.

What Appeals Does the BIA Handle?

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) comprises 23 appellate judges and is the highest administrative body for US immigration laws. These judges are tasked with ensuring that immigration laws are fairly and uniformly applied to all cases. If the immigrant or the government is dissatisfied with the outcome of the original immigration judge’s ruling, they can appeal the case to the BIA within 30 days of the decision.

The BIA judges each case individually, relying on briefs submitted with the appeal to help inform their decision. Consulting a skilled immigration attorney with experience in these briefs can be critical to the outcome of your appeal. If the BIA upholds the original ruling, you can then petition the Circuit Court of Appeals to review your case.

When Would You Bring Your Appeal to the US Circuit Court of Appeals?

As noted above, if your application or petition was denied and the BIA upheld that decision, the US Circuit Court of Appeals is likely your final option for filing an appeal. Determining which circuit court to file your appeal in can be confusing because it is based on what geographical area your original immigration judge was sitting in. If you need to file this type of appeal, an immigration lawyer can ensure that your appeal is filed with the correct court. However, acting quickly is essential since you only have 30 days from the final administrative denial to file.

How Do Criminal Alien Appeals Work?

The immigration process can become very complicated for immigrants convicted of a crime. The court may threaten you with deportation and begin removal proceedings. At these times, you need an aggressive deportation order appeal lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights. In addition to appealing any court decisions, your immigration lawyer may help you to obtain an immigration waiver so you can remain in the country while they attempt to fight back against your criminal conviction.

What Are Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) Actions?

These are actions an immigrant can take in the US District Court jurisdiction where they live or have been detained. These legal actions provide immigrants with a means to seek justice regarding their immigration proceedings:

  • Habeas corpus action: If you or a loved one have been detained during a pending immigration case for an excessive amount of time, you have the right to bring your case before a Federal judge who can determine whether you are being unlawfully detained.
  • Mandamus action: Under this action, you can petition the court to order a government official to fulfill their duties, for example, if an immigration case has become stuck within the USCIS.
  • APA action: If an administrative agency makes an arbitrary choice regarding your case that does not consider the law or facts, you may bring an APA action.

If you believe any of these actions may apply to your case, reach out to a trusted immigration lawyer immediately for legal counsel.

Are There Other Legal Options if Your Application Has Been Denied?

In addition to appeals, you may file a motion to reconsider or reopen your immigration case if your petition or application has been denied. These are effective means that your immigration lawyer can utilize to get your adverse decision legally reversed. Still, you must meet specific requirements to use these options, which are as follows:

  • Motion to reopen: The motion must be filed within 90 days of the adverse decision. This motion can be used if you possess new facts that could possibly change the outcome of your application.
  • Motion to reconsider: If you disagree with the outcome of your case, you can ask the court to reconsider its ruling. This motion has a shorter timeframe and must be filed within 30 days of the original decision. For a successful motion, you must cite the errors made by the court in the application of the law or immigration policy and show their decision was incorrect based on the evidence presented.

Appealing a US immigration ruling can be confusing and complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. A knowledgeable immigration appeals attorney can assist you with every step of the process, helping you to reach the best outcome possible.