the USCIS can be incredibly strict with the extensive process of a Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence. You probably spent a lot of time preparing your documents to file and getting ready for the interview, and eventually, you found out that your application is denied.
The first thing to know is that denial does not mean that you lost any chance. There are more options to consider, such as filing a Motion to Reconsider or a Motion to Reopen with USCIS, requesting a review from USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), or reapplying and start the process over from the beginning. Furthermore, if you received a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court for removal proceedings, but USCIS didn’t revoke or deny your Form I-130, you can ask the judge to reconsider your I-485.
Motion to Reconsider
You can file a Motion to Reconsider when you and your attorney believe that the USCIS officer made a factual or legal error in denying your application.
Motion To Reopen
On the other hand, you can file a Motion to Reopen when there is new evidence that was previously unavailable to you but may change the case’s outcome if the matter were reopened to consider the new evidence. You will have to explain why you could not submit that evidence initially, which usually means that some circumstances must have changed that justifies allowing you to submit this additional evidence.
Appealing to the Administration Appeals Office
means taking your case out from one officer and asking a different officer to handle it. You cannot do this just because you didn’t like the previous officer’s decision, but because you believe that the first USCIS officer made an error in your case. You will be able to submit new evidence through this appeal.
If you hold some other forms of legal status that allow you to stay in the United States despite having just received the denial, you may have the time to start the process all over again. But this time, make sure that you build a stronger case almost from the beginning. You could skip the step and simply file a new I-485 with relevant evidence and fees if USCIS did not deny or revoke your I-130 or I-129F. If the denial was based on something you could not provide enough evidence, this option is beneficial for you. This might be the case if the USCIS officer previously suspected that your marriage wasn’t bona fide. So, this time you and your spouse can provide new evidence proving the marriage life you are building together.
Asking An Immigration Judge to Reconsider Your I-485
If you do not have any other form of status, allowing you to stay, you will likely receive a Notice to Appear. You will appear before an Immigration Judge for removal proceedings to tell the judge that you want to adjust your status as a defense from removal at this hearing. The judge will set a deadline within which you have to submit your documents along with a date for your merits hearing. At this hearing, you will present your case to the judge, the one you submitted to USCIS for your I-485, but you can also bring any additional evidence that you think will help your case be stronger. Also, you can bring witnesses to testify. After you present all evidence has, the judge will make the decision and may decide to approve your application. If the judge approves it, you will finally get a green card.
No matter what option you end up thinking is the best one for you, we highly recommend you get an experienced immigration attorney who will help build your case and advise you on what steps you should take, having in mind the specifics of your immigration situation. An experienced immigration attorney will best assess where the application failed and what it would take to succeed in moving forward.