Immigration Appeals in Austin
Immigration appeals are an important part of U.S. immigration law, and some people are eligible to use them when they don’t agree with an adverse decision, such as the denial of a green card or orders for removal from the United States. But who can file an immigration appeal in Austin, and what types of cases can you appeal?
Here’s what you need to know.
Immigration Appeals Law Firm
If you have received a denial notice from USCIS, you may be able to file an appeal or open a motion to reconsider the decision. The attorneys at Nanthaveth & Associates offer case-specific legal advice in immigration appeals and possess the thorough understanding of immigration policy that is required for appeals and motions.
If you don’t agree with an immigration decision that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes, you could be eligible to file an appeal.
An appeal is a request to a different authority to review an unfavorable decision. That means the original judge in your case won’t be the same person reviewing your case. When you appeal, you’re escalating your case to the next-higher authority.
When you file an appeal, you are asking either the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of USCIS or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) of the U.S Department of Justice to review the original decision made on your case. When you file an appeal, it is mandatory that you provide an explanation of why you think the original decision was an error. In order to provide a complete and thorough explanation, it is recommended that applicants submit briefs with their Notice of Appeal (Form I-290B). With the professional experience and legal expertise of our immigration attorneys, we will provide a detailed and concise brief for your appeal. It’s also important for you to know that neither the AAO nor the BIA usually hear oral arguments – that means the brief (the written document that explains why you believe the court’s original decision was wrong) must contain a strong argument in your favor.
What Cases Does the Administrative Appeals Office Hear?
The Administrative Appeals Office hears cases involving:
- Adjustment of Status applications
- Applications for Temporary Protected Status
- Investment-based and employment-based visas
- Petitions involving orphans, juveniles, special immigrants and religious workers
- Petitions involving temporary labor, services or training
Motions vs. Immigration Appeals
A motion is what your immigration attorney files to ask the same USCIS office that issued the unfavorable decision to take another look at the case. That makes them different from appeals. In some cases, motions are more appropriate – such as when the official who made the decision overlooked some evidence that was clearly in your petition.
Unlike an appeal, a motion does not involve the review of higher authorities. Rather, a motion is a request for the original decision maker in the case to review their decision.
There are two types of motions: motions to reopen and motions to reconsider. Both go to the original office that made the unfavorable decision.
A motion to reopen is based on documentary evidence of new facts. That means you have new facts to add to your case, and those facts may lead to a new decision.
A motion to reconsider is based on a claim of incorrect application of immigration law or policies that led to the original unfavorable decision.
You can file a motion even if your case is not eligible for an appeal to a higher authority. You don’t need to know what’s better in your case – a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider – because your attorney will know which type to file and explain the reasoning to you.
What is a Motion to Reopen an Immigration Case
A motion to reopen requests that the original decision maker on your case reviews their original decision due to new evidence or changed circumstances within the case. When an applicant files a motion to reopen, they must provide the new evidence or circumstances, along with a through explanation of why this new evidence or changed circumstances should affect the original decision of the case.
What is a Motion to Reconsider an Immigration Case?
A motion to reconsider, which requests a review of the original decision based on new or additional legal arguments. A motion to reconsider provides the opportunity to use newly discovered legislation and case studies to argue in favor of an applicant’s case.
How Do You Know if You Can Appeal?
Your denial or revocation notice will mention your right to an appeal. If you have the right to appeal a decision, your notice will clearly say so. If you’re not sure, you should ask your Austin immigration attorney.
Immigration Appeal FAQ
Check out these commonly asked questions about immigration appeals. If you don’t see your own question answered here, please call us right away – we’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you case-specific legal advice when necessary.
What Can I Do if I’m Not Happy With a USCIS Decision?
If USCIS makes an immigration decision that you disagree with, you may be eligible to file an appeal or a motion. In an appeal, you’re asking a higher authority to look at the case and render a new judgement. With a motion, you’re asking the original authority – the one who made the latest decision in the proceeding – to review the circumstances of the case, with or without new evidence.
Can I Appeal a Visa Denial or Revocation?
Usually, only the original petitioner can file an appeal or motion on a denied or revoked visa petition; the beneficiary typically can’t.
There’s an exception, though; if you fill both roles (meaning that you’re the petitioner and the beneficiary), you can file an appeal or motion. That can occur if you’re a VAWA self-petitioner, for example, or if you’re the widow or widower of a U.S. citizen. Some beneficiaries of Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, can file an appeal or motion in revocation proceedings, as well.
If you’re not sure about your situation, the best thing to do is to get in touch with an Austin immigration attorney who understands how current laws affect your case.
What’s the Best Way to File an Immigration Appeal?
Many people choose to work with an attorney – particularly if they haven’t yet worked with a lawyer or law firm on the case before. That’s because working with a lawyer can take a lot of the guesswork out of filing an appeal or a motion. Immigration attorneys are very familiar with the law and how it can affect their clients.
You absolutely have the right to seek legal counsel. For many people, that’s the best way to file an immigration appeal. Your attorney will most likely file an appeal using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if your lawyer is appealing a decision on an application for naturalization, special immigrant petition, or a petition for an alien relative, he or she will use other forms.
How Long Do I Have to File an Appeal for an Immigration Decision?
You’ll typically have to file an appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision. The date of the decision is before you received it – so if an official decided your case on the first day of the month, but you didn’t receive a notice in the mail for two weeks, you have already spent two weeks of your time. In the vast majority of cases, you only have 30 days, which means if your decision is made on the first of the month, you must file your appeal by the 30th day of the month.
Some cases have an even shorter deadline, such as revocation of the approval of a petition. Those cases must be appealed within 15 days of the decision.
Any decision you receive will tell you how long you have to file an appeal. Don’t worry; there is no guesswork involved.
One notable exception is when your decision is mailed to you. If USCIS mails your decision to you, you get an extra three days to appeal. That means you have 33 days to appeal some decisions and 18 days to appeal others.
For most people, the best course of action is to get in touch with an attorney immediately after receiving an unfavorable immigration decision. Your attorney will talk to you about your options and explain what you can do next – and then, he or she will begin working to get you the best possible outcome.
What Are Briefs in an Immigration Appeal?
Because the AAO and BIA rarely hear oral arguments on appeals, a brief is the best way to communicate the circumstances of your case to the appropriate authorities. Briefs are written legal arguments, and they usually follow a certain format. They state important information about a case, and they typically apply reasoning to the facts in the case.
You don’t have to write your own brief. Your attorney will talk to you about your circumstances and put together the brief for you. Then, he or she will file it with the appropriate authorities.
Should I File a Motion or an Appeal?
When you file a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen, you’re asking the officials presiding over your case to reevaluate their original decision or reopen the case. You may want the case reconsidered if you believe the law was applied incorrectly or the authority didn’t look at all the facts. Likewise, you may want your case reopened and reevaluated because you have new evidence or changed circumstances that could have changed the outcome of the original case.
An appeal is different. Essentially, an appeal is you asking a higher authority to look at your entire case with fresh eyes.
Many people believe that the best thing to do is to consult with an attorney after an unfavorable immigration decision. If you talk to a lawyer and explain your situation, you’ll be able to find out what options you have – whether you should file a motion or file an immigration appeal.
How Long Do Appeals and Motions Take to Process?
Generally, appeals tend to take 180 days or less. However, that time frame can vary based on caseloads and whether the reviewing authority needs more information. The Administrative Appeals Office, or AAO, attempts to address appeal requests within 180 days. However, sometimes cases take longer (such as when additional documentation is necessary).
When it comes to motions, USCIS attempts to process them within 90 days. Motions that must be reviewed by the AAO can take more than 180 days.
If you don’t receive a response and it’s been more than six months, your attorney will continue to follow up on your case and find out where it is in the process.
The immigration attorneys at Nanthaveth and Associates possess the extensive knowledge of immigration law necessary to help you with the appeals process. Our firm keeps up to date on new immigration legislation, policies, and court cases to ensure that we can provide effective arguments for your case. If you have received a denial notice from USCIS, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
Will Your Immigration Appeal Be Successful?
When your immigration appeal is decided, you’ll get a notice of approval or denial from the Administrative Appeals Team, or AAT. (If you’re a student, your notice of approval or denial will probably come from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, or SEVP). The notice may be sent to your attorney instead of you, and your attorney will let you know immediately.
As many as 40,000 people choose to appeal cases in immigration court each year. If you decide to file an appeal, you’re definitely not alone.
There’s no way to predict whether your immigration appeal will be successful, but if you call us and explain your situation, we can tell you whether it’s likely or unlikely. Unfortunately, we can’t predict a specific outcome on any case; that’s because every case is different, and some cases make it through the appeal process when other, similar cases do not.
How Much Does an Immigration Appeal Cost?
If you appeal an immigration decision, you must pay a filing fee. That fee, which is subject to change, is currently $675. Your filing fee is separate from your attorney’s fees.
In some cases, you can request a waiver of the filing fee. There are specific cases in which a waiver is appropriate – especially an inability to pay. If USCIS can waive the filing fee for the original (or if the original petition or application had no fee),
Every case is different, so it’s difficult to tell you how much an immigration appeal will cost in total. Several factors, including how much research is necessary, whether we will represent you in court, and other issues will impact your cost. During your initial consultation, your attorney will provide you with an engagement letter; that letter will outline and explain your total cost.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About an Immigration Appeal in Austin?
If you’ve received an unfavorable immigration decision and you’re eligible to appeal, we may be able to help. Call or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation – we’ll answer your questions and start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.