Written by attorney Carl Michael Shusterman

Appealing a Visa Denial

If your application for a visa has been denied, you usually have the opportunity to appeal the decision. Before filing your appeal, try to determine what may have resulted in the denial. Did you not explain your situation clearly or did you leave out important information? Figuring out why your visa was denied, if possible, can help you determine how to proceed.

Eligibility to Appeal a Visa Denial

If you are eligible to appeal, your denial notice will say so. It will also tell you which office has jurisdiction over the decision (the USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office or the Board of Immigration Appeals) and will include the appropriate appeals form. Only the person who originally submitted the visa application may appeal a denial, although that person does have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative. If you have representation, you must also file an additional form, Form G-28, notifying the appeals office that you will have a representative appearing with you.

How to Appeal a Visa Denial

You have a limited amount of time to file your appeal. In general, you have 30 days from the date of the original decision, although different deadlines apply to denials received by mail or appeals of an approved immigrant petition. Information on your appeal deadline will also be included in your denial notice. You must fill out the appropriate form and file it with the same office that made the original decision. You have two choices in your appeal:

  • Motion to reopen: If you have new information, not considered in your original application, that you believe will convince the consular officer to grant your visa request, you may ask to reopen your case. You must have evidence to back up your new facts.
  • Motion to reconsider: In this case, you are not presenting new facts, but are asking that the consular officer review your file on the basis that the original decision did not correctly apply USCIS policy or US law. Because you are not supplying additional information, you must show that the details in your file at the time of the original decision were sufficient to have correctly applied the law.

In either case, you must file your motion within the appropriate deadline and with the correct fee. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to appeal, but you are free to reapply for a visa.

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