Law, Procedure, Other Visa Denials & Appeals: Answers to Frequent Questions

  1. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will sometimes deny or revoke a petition for immigration. If this has happened to your petition, you may appeal their decision. This article provides answers to frequently asked questions about denials and appeals.

    Who handles immigration petition appeals when they are denied?

    The Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU). When you receive a notice of denial, you will be informed of your right to appeal. You can obtain appeal forms by contacting the AAU.

    Is there a deadline to file an appeal for denial?

    Yes, there are strict deadlines. The deadline is 30 days after the denial decision. However, if you were mailed the decision, the deadline is 33 days after the denial decision date.

    What is the deadline to file an appeal when a visa is revoked?

    Once a visa has been revoked, the deadline to file an appeal is within 15 days of the revocation decision or 18 days if you were mailed the notice of revocation.

    Are denials or revocations ever reversed?

    Yes, upon reading the explanation you supply with the appeal as to why you feel it should be approved or the revocation should be reversed, the appellate authority has the discretion to overturn the decision if he or she agrees with you. They may also ask the original office to review their decision.

    Is appealing to the AAU the only option available once there has been a denial or revocation of a visa?

    No, you can also file a “motion to reopen” or a “motion to reconsider” with the office that denied your petition.

    What is a “motion to reopen or reconsider”?

    These are motions that ask the deciding office to reconsider their decision to deny you a visa. However, the motion to reopen must provide new facts, along with affidavits and other documents that provide evidence that your visa denial was based by wrongly applying the law or USCIS policy. You will have to prove that the decision was faulty based on the facts that were in the file at the time the decision was made. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help ensure your rights when you file a motion to reopen or reconsider.

    What is the deadline to file a “motion to reopen or reconsider”?

    You must file a motion to reopen within 30 days of the denial decision. There are no extensions allowed and only one appeal is allowed to be filed for each denial or revocation.

    Who can make the appeal?

    The person to make the appeal can make the appeal can only be the petitioner, not the beneficiary. That would be the United States employer who is seeking to hire the alien worker or the one who is willing to be the sponsor for the immigrant who is a relative or fiancé. If an attorney is to accompany the petitioner, a signed Form G-28 (Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Representative) must be submitted along with the appeal form. Both the petitioner and the attorney must sign the form.

    What is a denial under section 214(b)?

    Section 214(b) visa denials are common but can successfully be appealed. Usually students who are applying for a F1 or J1 visas do not convince the consular officer during the interview that the he or she will leave when the field of study is completed. Not being able to show that the beneficiary has “h2 ties” in his own country is the reason for the denial.

    Who actually approves or denies the issuance of visas?

    The consular officers who are overseas are the ones who actually have the authority to deny visas. Applicants can convince the consular officers to change a visa denial by proving that they have h2 enough ties in their native country to return. The U.S. Department of State reviews the consular officer decisions but only to the extent that they interpret the law. They do not determine the facts. Only the consular officers who are abroad can verify the facts.

    What does the Visa Services in Washington do?

    The Visa Services in Washington can help to find out the status of an application and give information on how to get addresses for letters, telexes and faxes. They can also explain the legal ground for refusal and give information on how to appeal a denial.
    Immigration Law:
    Visa Appeal Process

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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