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Be sure to follow US immigration law when filing an appeal

Immigration decisions are not always as final as they seem. U.S. immigration law allows people to appeal petitions, applications and even visas that were denied or revoked. Since filing an appeal is often complicated, it is important for people in Louisiana to understand how the process works.

When a petitioner -- the person who submitted an application or petition -- thinks that a request should have been approved instead of denied, he or she can ask the Administrative Appeals Office to reconsider. This is done by filing an administrative appeal. Only petitioners are allowed to make appeals, so a woman whose visa petition for her husband was denied has to be the one to do so.

Petitioners also have to follow strict guidelines throughout this process. An appeal has to be filed with the office where the original decision was made, and it must be submitted before a specific deadline. A petitioner may also choose to file a brief, which is just a written explanation of his or her situation.

There are three possible outcomes. The AAO can agree with a person's appeal and change the original decision. If  it does not agree with an appeal the AAO will uphold the decision to deny or revoke a petition. If the agency cannot decide one way or the other, it will send the case back for another review.

The time between submitting an application and receiving an answer can feel like an eternity, and it is understandably frustrating to wait that long only for it to be denied. Luckily, U.S. immigration law makes it clear that people have the right to file appeals, asking that officials reconsider their decisions. Before someone in Louisiana makes an appeal, he or she should learn about the process and important deadlines first.

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