APPEALS OF USCIS DECISIONS TO THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS
While the Board of Immigration Appeals (i.e. BIA) most often considers appeals of decisions by Immigration Judges, it does have jurisdiction over some adverse decisions by USCIS. The BIA has jurisdiction over decisions by USCIS denying family-based immigrant visa petitions (i.e. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or I-130). There are several reasons USCIS can deny your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. For example, your Form I-130 may be denied if there is a lack of evidence to establish your relationship to the beneficiary or your relationship is not recognized as a matter of law (i.e. a bigamous marriage). More problematic is when USCIS denies a Form I-130 for fraud especially if the immigrant visa petition is based upon marriage. You can find yourself permanently barred from the United States if USCIS finds you committed fraud.
Whether it is worth filing an appeal depends upon why the immigrant visa petition was denied. Sometimes, it is more practical to simply re-file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS rather than appeal the denial. For example, if you and your spouse were not yet living together and thus, had limited evidence to show your marriage was entered in good faith, it may best to simply re-file the immigrant visa petition. However, it is important to keep in mind that filing a new immigrant visa petition does not give you a clean slate. A fraud finding will carry over to subsequent immigrant visa petitions so you will need to be able to establish you did not commit fraud. On the other hand, if USCIS found you entered into a sham marriage, you should strongly consider filing an appeal. Failing to file an appeal can lead to your immigration record being permanently damaged by the marriage fraud finding.
If you or your family member’s immigrant visa petition is denied, you should contact our team of experienced immigration attorneys immediately. You only have 30 days from the file a Notice of Appeal. Failure to file a timely appeal results in the decision becoming final.