If your application or request is denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will be advised whether you have the opportunity to appeal their decision.

Who May Appeal?

Only the person who applied or submitted a request may appeal the decision. For example, an employer submits a request for an employee work visa. If the request is denied, the employer can appeal, but the employee may not. You may not appeal a denial of extension of stay, change of nonimmigrant status or an appeal.

How Do I Appeal?

The USCIS will send you instructions for submitting an appeal. Generally, you will pay a fee and file your appeal at the office that made the original decision. When you file your appeal you may submit an explanation of why you are appealing. Once your immigration request is reviewed again you will be notified by the immigration authorities that:

  • Your claim was overturned and ruled in your favor;
  • The decision was upheld and ruled against you; or
  • Your claim was sent back with further instructions to the office that made the original decision.

What Options are Available?

You may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the office that denied your immigration request within 30 days of the decision. When you submit your motion you can ask to be present at the review to make an oral argument:

  • If you submit a motion to reopen you must include new facts, affidavits or documents.
  • To have your claim ruled in your favor using a motion to reconsider, you must show the original decision was based an incorrect application of the law or USCIS rules to the facts of your case when it was originally decided.

You may also be able to circumvent the rejection by applying for a waiver such as a Hranka waiver.

Do I Need A Lawyer to Appeal an Immigration Decision?

Because you are permitted to file just one appeal, you are encouraged to speak with an immigration attorney. While the timeframes to file an appeal vary, they are short, so you should act quickly. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand your denial letter, explain immigration laws, offer alternatives, and may represent you when appealing the decision.