Immigration Cases: Motions to Reopen & Reconsider

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If you think U.S. immigration authorities have made an error in their decision regarding your immigration application or petition, there are several steps you can take to request that they reconsider their decision. Those include filing a motion to reopen your case and a motion to reconsider your case. These motions require that you provide specific reasons for why officials should reopen or reconsider your case.

Motion to Reopen

If you file a motion to reopen your case, that motion:

  • Must include new facts
  • Requires affidavits and/or other evidence to support those facts

Motion to Reconsider

If you file a motion to reconsider your case, that motion:

  • Must state a reason to reconsider the original decision
  • Must provide evidence of prior decisions, showing the law or agency policy, that prove the original decision was made in error

Requirements for All Motions

Regardless of the type of motion you file, the motion must be:

  • Made within 30 days of the most recent decision in the case
  • Made to the agency officer who was responsible for making the most recent decision in the case
  • Made on Form I-290 Notice of Appeal

The Result of the Motion

If you've filed a motion to reopen your case or a motion for reconsideration, you'll be notified of the Administrative Appeal Office's decision in writing. If the motion fails to meet the requirements spelled out above, the motion will be dismissed.

It's important to understand that filing a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider doesn't delay any action to be taken as a result of the original decision. For example, if a removal date has been set, then that date is still in effect even if a motion has been filed and you're waiting on a decision.

Questions for Your Attorney

If your immigration application or petition has been denied, it makes sense to consider filing a motion to reopen or a motion for reconsideration. Because these are sophisticated legal procedures, it makes sense to hire an attorney who's experienced in handling these types of cases.

Among the questions to consider asking your lawyer:

  • Have you previously handled immigration appeals and motions?
  • Do I have grounds for a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider?
  • What is the likelihood of success in my case?
  • How much do you charge for your services?
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