Board of Immigration Appeals

If you are facing a final order of removal, or have lost your case in Immigration Court, it is possible to appeal the court’s decision to prevent your removal from the United States. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board” or “BIA”) is the administrative body that handles administrative appeals. An appeal must be filed to the BIA within 30 days of the Immigration Judge’s decision.

Once that happens, the BIA will judge the administrative appeal based on written documents called “briefs” that set forth the facts, legal issues and arguments.  Both the alien and the government must file their respective briefs by a deadline the BIA sets some time after lodging the appeal (this time is generally 3-6 months and sometimes longer). The Board will rarely ask for oral argument.  It can usually take between 8 and 18 months for the BIA to make a decision depending on the complexity of the case; however, cases where the alien is detained are put on an expedited track.

When an appeal is filed, the alien who has been ordered removed is automatically granted a stay of removal (will not be deported) while the appeal is pending before the Board. If the Immigration Judge granted voluntary departure on condition of payment of a departure bond, then the bond must be paid within the time set by the Immigration Judge, even if the BIA appeal is filed, in order to preserve the voluntary departure relief.

In addition to order of removal cases, the BIA also hears cases on:

  • Exclusion of aliens applying for admission to the United States
  • Petitions to classify the status of alien relatives for the issuance of preference immigrant visas (example: administrative appeal of I-130 denial)
  • Fines imposed upon carriers for the violation of immigration laws
  • Motions for reopening in absentia orders (where the alien failed to appear in court), motions to reopen for new evidence or changed country conditions, ineffective assistance of counsel motions and motions for reconsideration of decisions previously rendered
  • If new facts or evidence arises during the pendency of a BIA appeal that was not previously available, the alien may file a motion to remand the case to the Immigration Judge.

It is not uncommon for an administrative or application error to result in an unfavorable decision on the Immigration Court level, so be sure to contact us to investigate and assess your chances for appeal in a timely fashion- mindful of the 30-day deadline. The Board must RECEIVE the appeal notice by or on the 30th day (not merely mail the appeal notice by that date).

If the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denies your case, you can appeal the decision in a Federal Court of Appeals by filing a Petition for Review. Check out our Federal Court page for more info.  (insert link to our Federal Court within the Bold Type)