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Immigration Appeals


Hopefully your decision is favorable and the Judge found in your favor. If the decision is negative it means that the Judge ordered you removed or deported. If this happens you have 30 days to present an appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia. Your appeal has to physically be there on the 30th day or it will be late. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS POINT. Instead of appealing you may file a motion to reconsider within 30 days or a motion to reopen within 90 days. The decision as to which path to take should be made with your attorney as your rights will be affected by it. During the appeal your attorney will be allowed to argue why the decision should be different in your case. He or she will be able to do this by writing a “brief” in which the legal argument in your case are discussed.


The Board of Immigration Appeals is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the Department of Justice. It is located in Falls Church, Virginia and all appeals from the decision of an immigration judge go there if appeal is reserved.
Filing the Appeal
The appeal of an immigration judge’s decision must be filed within 30 days after its rendered. This means that the appeal itself has to be there – physically at the BIA – on day 30. An initial form is sent to the Board notifying it that you intend to appeal the immigration judges decision. It goes accompanied by a money order and must explain the reasons why you are appealing. Once your appeal is received you will be sent a receipt notice from the BIA telling you that you appeal is filed and when you have to submit a brief in your case.


The most important part of an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals is the brief. In it you will tell the Board why you think the immigration judge made a mistake and why it should be corrected. It must include the facts, the standard of review, the issues involved and your argument – the what and why – in your case.


An appeal usually takes about 1 year in getting resolved (Less if you are detained). Once you have a decision various thing can happen. One, the BIA sends the case back to the immigration judge for further proceedings. Two, the case is sent back to render a favorable decision. Three, the BIA grants your case. Four, the BIA denies your appeal. In the last case you have 30 day to file a second appeal to the Federal Court of Appeals in your Circuit.