Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), is one of the appellate bodies for immigration cases. The Board is comprised of senior Board members who hear cases appealed from immigration courts or the Department of Homeland Security. The Board also hear disciplinary cases against practitioners.

How long do I have to appeal an immigration judge’s order?

You have 30 days to appeal a decision by the immigration judge. This deadline is jurisdictional, meaning that if you miss it, you cannot appeal your case, without reopening the case with the immigration judge. Also, if you miss the deadline, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be able to remove you (deport) you from the United States. It is crucial that you adhere to that deadline.

What can be appealed to the Board?

As mentioned above, the BIA hears several types of cases ranging from denial of a bond to denial of immigrant visa petitions to denials of relief by the immigration judge. There are usually fees associated with appeals unless you fall under an exception or you receive a fee waiver from the BIA. For example, a motion to reopen an in absentia order of removal does not carry a fee.

Does the Board publish its decisions?

The BIA decides on hundreds of cases every year but does not publish many of them unless the case changes the current law or is a case of first impression, meaning the BIA had never dealt with the issue. The cases decided are published on the BIA’s website and are usually binding on all immigration courts, unless the BIA limits their applicability to a certain location.

Can I Appeal the Board’s decision in my case?

There are very limited circumstances where you can appeal the BIA’s decision to a United States Circuit Court with jurisdiction over your case. For example, a Circuit Court may not review a BIA decision that is based on the exercise of discretion, like a denial of Cancellation of Removal. The Circuit Court may review the decision if there was a violation of law or if the question relates to the interpretation of the law. For example, if the BIA denies your case based on the commission of an aggravated felony, the Board’s decision on the nature of the crime will be reviewable by the court. The first step would be the filing of a Petition for Review with the court and abide by the court’s brief filing deadlines. If the Circuit Court denies your petition for Review, then you may petition the Supreme Court of the United States to review that decision. If the court grants your petition, then it will be remanded to the BIA for new proceedings.

Who oversees the Board of Immigration Appeals?

The Board is a part of the Justice Department under the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). The Attorney General of the United States, as the head of the Department of Justice, is the secretary in charge of this office.

Can I reopen my case of the Board if it has been more than 90 days?

Possibly. Click on this link to read more about Motions to Reopen.

The most important thing to remember is to hire an experienced attorney to file your appeal with the Board or a Motion to Reopen. Contact us using the form below to speak to an experienced immigration attorney.