USCIS & Immigration I-290B Appeals
Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
If a you filed a petition and it was denied or revoked by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and in a very narrow circumstances, by ICE for very specific issues related to students, you have the option of filing an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). An appeal is filed using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. An appeal can be filed if you believe that USCIS made a mistake in the adjudication of your case. USCIS has the option of treating an appeal as a Motion to Reopen or Motion to Reconsider and adjudicate the matter on its own.
An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of service of the order on appeal or 33 days if the order was mailed to you. Along with Form I-290B, you should also submit more evidence and if possible, a summary of your arguments. A brief is a good document to submit with the appeal. The brief should summarize the evidence, the law, and the facts in your case.
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) adjudicates appeals. The administrative appeals process goes through two stages: the initial field review and AAO appellate review. The initial field review is conducted by the office that had initially issued the denial or revocation; they have 45 days to evaluate the appeal and decide whether to approve the appeal. If during the initial field review the office does not approve the appeal, it will forward the appeal to the AAO and send you a Notice of Transfer to the AAO.
During the AAO appellate review the AAO aims to complete its appellate review within 180 days from the time it receives a complete case record from the initial field review. Some cases may take longer if additional documents may be needed from the applicant or the case is more difficult and requires extra time to complete the review. As of today, this attorney would say that it is not uncommon to see 1.5 to 2 year wait periods on AAO appeal adjudication, so it is always a consideration for people contemplating whether they should appeal a matter or just file a fresh new application again.
The AAO usually publishes non-precedent decisions. This means they apply existing law and policy to the facts of a given case. A non-precedent decision is compulsory on the parties involved in the case, but it does not change agency guidance or practice. If you believe there was a mistake in the adjudication of you petition, then filing an appeal could be the next option for you.