bigstock-Passports-31148Whether they are trying for a visa, permanent residency, or citizenship, there are plenty of reasons why an otherwise eligible foreign citizen may be denied for an upgrade in his or her immigration status. Generally, however, the primary reason for denials of otherwise eligible individuals is because of errors in the person’s application. This is where our business immigration lawyers can help.

The Government Doesn’t Reach Out

Due in large part to the volume of applications for upgrades in immigration status which the government receives, the government does not generally reach out to visa, permanent residency and citizenship applicants when a discrepancy in an application causes a denial – the government will simply deny the application and require the person to apply again.

As anyone who is trying to come to the US might imagine, being denied because of a simple application error can add a substantial amount of time to the overall approval period.

Appealing a Decision

When a foreign citizen’s application for an immigration upgrade is denied, the government does allow the person to appeal the decision. An appeal request will always result in one of three outcomes – the original denial will be upheld, reversed, or remanded. If it is upheld, it means that the reviewing authority agrees with the original decision to deny.

If it is reversed, it means that the reviewing authority disagrees with the original decision to deny and approves the original request. If it is remanded, it means that the reviewing authority neither agrees nor disagrees with the original decision, but believes that it should be sent back to the original reviewing authority for a second look.

Appealing a Revocation

Another reason why a foreign citizen may appeal a decision by immigration authorities is if the person’s visa or lawful permanent resident status is revoked. A revocation is different from an application denial in that a revocation affects decisions which have already been made. In other words, a person who has already been issued a visa or granted lawful permanent resident status has had their visa or status revoked after it was issued.

A revocation is common if the government believes that an upgrade in immigration status was obtained by fraud, or if the person approved for the upgrade is found to have violated a condition of approval, like being convicted of a serious criminal offense.


As soon as a person is informed that his or her immigration application was denied or status revoked, that person should contact experienced immigration legal counsel for advice. If the person was denied after filing an initial application, then the person generally has 30 days to file the appeal, but if the person’s status was revoked, then the person generally has 15 days to file an appeal.

Unfortunately, not every decision made by immigration authorities can be appealed. For example, requests for extensions and requests to change one’s nonimmigrant status can’t be appealed. For more information on their rights to appeal decisions by immigration authorities, foreign citizens and immigrants should contact a business immigration attorney as soon as possible to find out what their best legal options are for their specific case.