The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA or Board) is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying United States immigration laws. In general, the BIA reviews appeals from certain decisions that Immigration Judges and district directors of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issue, ensuring that the immigration laws receive a fair and uniform application.
Filing an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is a crucial step for many noncitizens facing removal because it is the last opportunity to obtain a favorable decision from the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
What types of cases does the BIA hear—and not hear?
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is tasked with hearing appeals from decisions made by immigration judges and the Department of Homeland Security.
In general, the BIA does not have the authority to review decisions not made by immigration judges
The BIA does not review decisions made by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) including applications for adjustment of status
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) is usually tasked with the review of USCIS decisions
Can I appeal my case with the BIA?
Case Decisions Reviewable by the BIA
Most decisions issued by immigration judges are reviewable by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), with the exclusion of credible fear and reasonable fear determinations. In general, the BIA does not have the authority to review decisions not rendered by immigration judges.
The following decisions are reviewable by the BIA, including but not limited to:
Removal, deportation, and exclusion orders/li>
Withholding of removal or deportation/li>
Exclusion of aliens applying for admission to the US/li>
Motions to reopen and reconsider prior decisions/li>
Denial of bond or parole/li>
Family-based immigrant petitions/li>
Waivers of inadmissibility/li>
How and when do I appeal my case with the BIA?
Appealing Your Case with the BIA
When an immigration judge issues a decision, both the government and the immigrant have the right to appeal the decision. If the immigration judge issues a decision against you, they will ask if you would like to appeal the ruling. You should tell the immigration judge that you would like to appeal or that you would like to reserve your right to appeal.
Is there a time limit on when I can appeal the decision? If you decided to appeal the immigration judge’s decision, you must do so within 30 calendar days of the decision. (This includes weekends and holidays.)
The Notice of Appeal, along with payment, must be physically received by the BIA within the 30-day deadline
However, if the 30-day deadline falls on a weekend or a legal holiday, the due date is the next business day
It is best practice to send the Notice by overnight delivery or certified mail well in advance of the deadline.
How long does a BIA appeal take? An appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months depending on how many appeals are pending. Complex cases often take more than 12 months.
Do I need a lawyer to file a BIA appeal?
Legal Assistance for BIA Appeals
You are not required to hire a lawyer to handle your BIA case. If you choose to hire a lawyer to handle your appeal, your lawyer will handle all the required paperwork for the appeal. Since the Notice of Appeal must be received by the BIA within the strict 30-day deadline, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the immigration judge issues their decision.
We Can Help You with Your BIA Case
At Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law, we have assisted many clients with their Board of Immigration Appeals cases. Our lawyers appear regularly before the Board of Immigration Appeals and have had success with appealing decisions of Immigration judges and reopening cases of people facing imminent removal.
Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law regularly creates video content about the current state of a certain aspect of US immigration law, and how it applies to Canadians living and working in the United States today.