When you file a petition for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, it goes to the desk of a U.S. consul. The petition may be approved, and it may also be denied. If your petition is denied, it can completely upend your plans, as well as many factors in your life. It is important not to give up hope though, and to do your research into what you need to do to appeal.
Why Petitions Are Denied
There are a host of reasons why visa petitions are denied, but the most common reason is a lack of persuasive evidence showing that the eligibility requirements have been met. In simpler terms, not enough documentation is provided. There are other reasons as well; for example, certain criminal convictions, like crimes of moral turpitude, will almost certainly get your petition denied. Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes which involve intent to cause great bodily harm, defraud or deceive and include fraud, human trafficking, and murder. However, eligibility is the main reason; for a non-immigrant, the consul may be unconvinced that you have ties strong enough to return to your home country, which is a major criteria for the visa to be granted. Or, you may have insufficient evidence of financial support.
Because eligibility issues can be corrected, if you are denied, you can, in most situations, appeal. (The most common situation in which you cannot appeal is if you are found ineligible under INA §214(b), failing to provide sufficiently strong ties to your home country. In that situation, you must reapply.) Usually, the appeal of a petition will go to either the consular officer who reviewed it (if you are abroad), the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA); the latter two apply if you are in the U.S. already. The AAO is under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services and the State Department, and the BIA is under the jurisdiction of the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the Justice Department.
The Appeals Process
When applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate outside the country, the consular officer who reviews your file has all but the last word on the matter. The State Department is entitled to review officers’ decisions, but only on matters of law, not fact. Thus, if you fail to convince the consul of your eligibility, you can reapply for the visa at the same consulate, or you can file a motion to reopen or reconsider. Motions to reopen or reconsider are appeals to the consul to re-evaluate your case based on either new factual information, or new legal arguments not previously argued.
When applying for a visa or adjustment of status from within the U.S., you will receive a denial notice in the mail, called a Form I-292, with instructions on it should you wish to appeal the decision. The notice will tell you where to send your information, as well as help on what to send and the appropriate time frame in which to do it (usually appeals must be filed within a month of your original decision, with rare exceptions).
Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney
An experienced immigration attorney can help ease the process of paperwork and answer any questions you may have. If you need help appealing a denial, please contact the DuPage County immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.
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