How to File an Appeal or a Motion If Your Green Card Application is Denied

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Green Cards

Unfortunately, thousands of Green Card applicants are denied a card every year. In many instances, you do not have the right to appeal a decision made by USCIS. Your denial letter will provide information about whether or not you can appeal your particular decision, whether you apply for a Green Card, naturalization, a visa or in other similar types of immigration matters.

It is more likely you will be allowed to file a motion to reopen or reconsider your application if you were initially denied. You can file a motion to reopen even in those instances where you do not have the option to file an appeal.

In instances where you can file an appeal, your request will be reviewed by a higher authority at the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). 

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Appeals are filed on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. They are then reviewed by the original officer who made the decision to deny the application. If that officer finds sufficient reason and new documentation to support the reopening of the case, they will for the case to the AAO or the BIA for additional review.

In most cases, an appeal should be filed within 30 days of receiving a denial letter, but your letter will state the exact date an appeal period ends. There are no extensions.

Depending on the nature of your denial and your subsequent appeal, you will need to mail your Form I-290 and supporting materials to the appropriate address. We provide those addresses here.

Due to the unique nature of each request, it may take as long as six months for the AAO to decide on your appeal. 

The same general rules apply for motions to reopen and motions to reconsider. The time frame is 30 days and the same Form I-290 is used as well.

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I acknowledge and understand that by submitting this Contact Request form through clicking "Check Eligibility!", I provide my express consent to the following: (1) That I am bound by Eligibility.com LLC’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use; (2) That I am not required to submit this form, and thereby agree to all terms located herein, as a condition to receive any property, goods, or services that may be offered, and that I may revoke my consent at any time.

A motion to reopen is a request to review a decision based on factual grounds such as new evidence or circumstances that have changed since the initial application was submitted. 

A motion to reconsider is a request to review a decision based on additional or new legal arguments.

It is important to file adequate supporting information in either case so that officials will have enough documentation to make an informed decision regarding your situation. The responsibility of doing this rests with you and not with immigration officials to do the research on your behalf. 

In the case of motions, USCIS tries to reach decisions within 90 days . If you haven’t heard a decision back from them in that time frame you can call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and make a service request to follow up.

Eligibility Team

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