Denials, Appeals, MTR, etc.

Application or Petition Denial by USCIS

When an application or petition is denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it means that USCIS has reviewed the submitted documentation and information and has determined that the applicant or petitioner does not meet the requirements for the requested immigration benefit. In essence, a denial means that USCIS has refused the request for the immigration benefit sought.

USCIS may deny an application or petition for various reasons, including but not limited to: Insufficient or inaccurate supporting documentation, Failure to meet eligibility criteria for the requested immigration benefit, Missing information or forms, Failure to pay required fees, Legal ineligibility, fraud or misrepresentation, etc. 

When USCIS denies an application or petition, they issue a formal written notice of denial. This notice explains the reasons for the denial and may provide information on whether and how the applicant or petitioner can appeal the decision.

A denial can have significant consequences depending on the type of application or petition. For example: If a green card application is denied, the applicant’s legal status in the U.S. may be affected, and they may be at risk of deportation if their current status has expired. If a visa petition for a family member or employee is denied, the person may not be eligible to enter or remain in the U.S. based on that petition.

Options After a Denial: Depending on the circumstances and the type of application or petition, individuals or employers may have several options after a denial, including:

  • Appealing the decision if eligible
  • Filing a motion to reopen or reconsider if new evidence or information becomes available
  • Refiling the application or petition with corrected documentation, or
  • Exploring other available immigration options

USCIS Application or Petition Appeal Process

If your case is denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you generally have the option to appeal the decision, depending on the type of immigration benefit or application you filed. The specific appeal process can vary depending on the type of application or petition and the circumstances of the denial. 

Not all USCIS decisions are appealable. The denial notice will indicate whether you have the right to appeal. Common applications that are typically eligible for appeal include family-based petitions, employment-based petitions, and certain other immigration benefits.

It is crucial to file your appeal within the specified timeframe indicated in the denial notice. The timeframe can vary, but it is usually 30 days from the date of the denial notice. Failure to file within the deadline may result in the appeal being dismissed.

Filing an appeal will involve completing the appropriate appeal form, paying the appropriate fee and submitting the appeal to the appropriate address. 

USCIS will review the appeal and either uphold the denial or reverse the decision. The processing time for appeals can vary.

If your appeal is denied, you may have additional options depending on the circumstances. You could file a motion to reopen or reconsider, or you may have the option to seek judicial review by filing a lawsuit in federal court.

Motion to Reopen or Reconsider

A Motion to Reopen or Reconsider is a formal request made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review a decision they have issued on an immigration case. This request can be made by an applicant or petitioner when their application or petition has been denied, or in certain other circumstances, to seek a re-evaluation of the decision. A Motion to Reopen or Reconsider is a way to request USCIS to take a second look at a case and potentially reverse or modify their initial decision.

Motion to Reopen (MTR) is typically filed when new evidence or facts have emerged that were not available or considered at the time of the initial USCIS decision. It can also be used when the applicant or petitioner believes that USCIS made an error in interpreting the law or regulations in their initial decision.

Motion to Reconsider (MTC) is typically filed when the applicant or petitioner believes that USCIS made an incorrect decision based on the evidence and law that were available at the time of the initial decision. It is used to request that USCIS re-evaluate their decision based on the existing record without introducing new evidence.

Both MTRs and MTCs are typically filed with the office that issued the denial.

It is essential to follow USCIS guidelines and requirements when filing a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider. Failure to file within the specified timeframe or failure to provide sufficient evidence or legal arguments can result in the denial of the motion.

Further Review by Filing a Lawsuit in Federal Court

When an individual or entity receives an unfavorable decision from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on an immigration-related matter, they have the option to seek further review by filing a lawsuit in federal court. This is a legal process in which the petitioner or applicant challenges the USCIS decision and asks the federal court to review the decision and potentially overturn it. 

Before filing a lawsuit in federal court, it is generally required to exhaust all available administrative remedies. This means that the petitioner or applicant must have pursued all available avenues for administrative review, such as filing a Motion to Reopen, Motion to Reconsider, or an appeal with USCIS, as applicable. Only after exhausting these remedies, they can proceed to federal court.

To initiate the lawsuit, the petitioner or applicant, along with their legal counsel, files a complaint in the appropriate federal district court. The complaint outlines the reasons for the lawsuit, the USCIS decision being challenged, and the legal arguments supporting the challenge. Both parties may engage in the process of discovery, where they gather, and exchange evidence related to the case. This may include documents, records, and witness depositions. The federal court may hold hearings and consider various motions during the litigation process. This can include motions for summary judgment, which ask the court to decide the case without a trial if there are no genuine disputes of material fact. Ultimately, the federal court will issue a decision based on the arguments, evidence, and applicable law. The court can either uphold the USCIS decision or overturn it, ordering USCIS to reconsider the case or take specific actions.

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