Motions to Reopen and Reconsider are similar, but separate and distinct motions. You can also file a motion to reopen or reconsider with the immigration court; however, this article covers motions to reopen and reconsider before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If you have applied for an immigration benefit with USCIS and have received a denial, you can file either a motion to reconsider or reopen with the office that issued the denial. You can also file these types of motions with the AAO. Unlike an appeal, motions to reopen and reconsider are requesting that the same office that issued the decision, take another look at its own decision.

Motion to Reopen

When you file a motion to reopen, you are asking USCIS to consider new facts or evidence not previously submitted. To show the existence of new evidence, you should include affidavits and other documentary evidence showing the new facts.

If your case is reopened, then it will return to ‘pending,’ and USCIS will issue a ‘new’ decision on the new evidence and facts.

Motion to Reconsider

In filing a Motion to Reconsider you do not submit new evidence or present new facts. Instead, you argue why you think the original decision was decided incorrectly. In fact, new evidence and new facts will not be considered. You’ll provide a legal basis for why you think the decision was incorrect. You can argue that USCIS incorrectly applied the laws of the United States or incorrectly applied USCIS policy. Essentially, you are arguing that USCIS got it wrong the first time.

How to File a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider:

Motions are filed on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. The Form I-290B must be filed within 30 days of the unfavorable decision or 33 days if the decision was mailed to you. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or holiday, you’ll have until the next non-weekend or non-holiday.

Late filings may be accepted if the delay was reasonable and beyond the applicant’s control.

Who Can File a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider?

Generally speaking, the beneficiary of a petition cannot file an appeal; only the applicant or petitioner may file a motion. For example, if a mother files an I-130 for her son and the I-130 is denied, the mother must file the motion-the son cannot.

For What Types of Applications Can I File a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider?

You can file a motion to reopen or reconsider for most USCIS forms; in fact, you can file motions to reopen or reconsider for some applications for which you cannot submit an appeal-like certain I-485 case.

USCIS maintains a list of Form numbers for which applicants can file appeals, and motions to reopen or reconsider.

If USCIS has denied an application for benefits, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney. Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, have extensive experience in cases involving motions to reopen, motions to reconsider, and appeals. Please feel free to call us at (510) 491-0291 to see how we can help!!!