A loss in immigration court or a denial of a visa petition can be crushing. However, many times an appeal can be a viable way for you to rightfully claim what is yours. Below are some examples of when an appeal may be granted after a loss or denial:

  • Incorrect application of the law
  • Abuse of discretion
  • Failure to state a legal reason for the denial
  • Failure to consider legitimate evidence submitted by the applicant
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Please remember that normally you only have 30 days from the denial to file an appeal, so you must take action quickly!


Many times the appeal process for you will start with a motion to reopen. If you were deported in absentia (if for some reason you failed to show up for your hearing) or if you were a victim of ineffective assistance of counsel, this might be your only option to resolve your immigration case. For those of you in Florida, it should be noted that the Eleventh Circuit (the Federal Circuit that listens to appeals from this area) has recently significantly relaxed the timing deadlines for filing these motions. Before their holding in Avila-Santoyo, if the petitioner did not file the motion to reopen, which is normally required to be filed in 90 days or 180 days in exceptional circumstances, they were 100% out of luck.

This included many cases where the attorney committed grave error and the client was forced to pay the irreparable consequences. This resulted in severe miscarriages of justice since many people did not find out about their eligibility to reopen until much after the filing deadlines. Now, the new holding will allow many people with good cases to reopen their matters and get a second chance at staying here with their families!

If you have been the victim of an arbitrary denial or of incompetent or dishonest legal representation and suffered a devastating loss as a result, let us see if there is a way for you to get a second bite at the apple.

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