While the United States offers many attractive
immigration benefits, not all applicants will qualify for these benefits. Fortunately,
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has an appeals process
for those petitioners and applicants who receive a “negative decision.”
Many negative decisions can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office,
otherwise known as the AAO. It’s the AAO’s job to review appeals
and check over them for accuracy and consistency, and to ensure that U.S.
immigration laws are being interpreted correctly.
The AAO is in the practice of issuing “non-precedent” decisions;
these decisions apply the current immigration laws and policies to the
facts of an individual case. However, sometimes the AAO will issue a “precedent”
decision after the Attorney General has the opportunity to review a case.
Cases Handled by the AAO
The AAO has jurisdiction over about 50 different types of immigration cases;
this responsibility was given to the AAO by the USCIS. It’s important
to note that not all immigration benefits can be appealed, and some appeals
are handled by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is connected
to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some types of appeals handled by the AAO:
Most types of
- Most types of nonimmigrant visa petitions
- Immigrant petitions for entrepreneurs
- Petitions for fiancés
Applications for reapplying for admission after being
- Specific special immigrant visa petitions
- Petitions for orphans
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications
Applications for maintaining a residence for the purpose of
In addition to the above, the AAO has the authority to review decisions
made by the USCIS service centers where they decided to revoke petitions
that were previously approved.
Do you wish to file an appeal?
If the USCIS denied a benefit that you applied or petitioned for, you should
receive a letter that explains the reason for the denial. If you wish
to file an appeal, you will need to file an appeal within 30 days of the
denial, and you will need to pay a fee.
Since many immigration categories have different appeal requirements, you shouldcontact our Plano immigration attorneys for professional guidance during the appeals process.