How to Appeal an Immigration Decision to the AAO

How to Appeal an Immigration Decision to the AAO

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) is responsible for reviewing certain types of immigration cases that have been decided by USCIS. If you believe that USCIS made a mistake in your case, you may file an appeal with the AAO. Here’s a quick guide on what to do and what to expect when appealing an immigration decision to the AAO.

Overview of the Administrative Appeals Office

An individual may file an appeal with the AAO if they disagree with a decision made on their immigration case. For example, an individual may appeal a USCIS decision to deny an application for naturalization.

The AAO is composed of a panel of administrative law judges who review appeals of USCIS decisions. While the AAO exists to review appeals, they do not, however, have the authority to overturn a decision made by a USCIS officer or agent, but it can remand a case back to USCIS for further review.

If you have received a decision from USCIS that you believe is incorrect, you may file an appeal with the AAO. The AAO accepts appeals of certain USCIS decisions, including:

  • Denials of applications for naturalization
  • Denials of applications for lawful permanent residency
  • Denials of applications for asylum or refugee status
  • Decisions to revoke or cancel an individual’s status as a lawful permanent resident

Once the AAO has received your notice of appeal, it will review your case to determine if it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal. If the AAO does not have jurisdiction to hear your appeal, your case will be dismissed.

If the AAO has jurisdiction to hear your appeal, it will notify you and USCIS of the date and time of the hearing. Both you and USCIS will have the opportunity to present.

Appealing a Decision to the US Administrative Appeals Office

If you are not satisfied with a decision made about your immigration case, you have the right to file an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

The AAO provides a detailed process for how to file an appeal, which is outlined below.

1. File a Notice of Appeal

The first step in appealing a USCIS decision is to file a Notice of Appeal. This notice must be filed within 30 days of the date you receive the original decision.

2. Submit a Brief

After you have filed your Notice of Appeal, you will need to submit a brief. This brief is a written argument that outlines the reasons why you believe the AAO should overturn the USCIS decision. This should include a detailed statement attached to Form I-290B and must include all arguments that you wish to consider on appeal.

3. Respond to the AAO Decision

Once the AAO has made a decision on your appeal, you will have the opportunity to respond. If you disagree with the AAO decision, you may file a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen.


Appealing an immigration decision to the Administrative Appeals Office can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, it is important to remember that you have the right to appeal if you believe that the decision made in your case was unfair. There are many resources available to help you navigate the appeals process, and an experienced immigration attorney can help you understand your options and make the best possible case for your appeal.

If you need assistance filing an appeal or navigating through the US immigration system, Cabrera & Associates, PA is here to help. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys will stand by your side and provide proper legal assistance and representation should you need it. Trust us to provide sound legal advice on whatever issues you have regarding immigration law. Schedule an appointment today!

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