Having an adjustment of status application denied can leave you feeling frustrated and uncertain about your options. This complex immigration process involves submitting Form I-485 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to get a green card.

Applicants invest significant time and resources into gathering paperwork, attending biometrics appointments, and preparing for interviews. So, receiving an unfavorable decision comes as quite a blow.

The good news is that there are several potential next steps to take if your I-485 is denied, depending on your situation. Reviewing alternatives such as filing an appeal or motion, reapplying, or speaking to a judge may get you back on track to receiving permanent resident status.

File a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider

Two direct options for contesting your adjustment of status denial with USCIS are:

  • get id chip Passport after Green Card US Permanent residentMotion to Reopen: Presents brand new facts and evidence not previously available that show USCIS was wrong. For example, changes in law or policy that now make you eligible.
  • Motion to Reconsider: Argues the original decision contained a legal or factual error based on documents first submitted with your application. Focuses on incorrect application of laws by USCIS adjudicators.

You can file Form I-290B for either motion, depending on the circumstances of your case. There is a filing fee, but fee waivers are possible if you cannot afford it. Ensure you meet all requirements before submitting a motion.

These are due quite soon after denial — within 30 days (33 if you received notice by mail). USCIS usually decides on motions in around 90 days, although timelines vary and can take longer. While waiting, your decision remains in effect, along with any orders to depart the U.S.

Success rates for approved I-290B motions ultimately depend on the strength of your arguments and the new evidence presented. In many situations, officers issue “summary dismissals” that reject motions for lack of basis. So first consult closely with your immigration attorney about viability before filing.

Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)

Alternatively, you may appeal the denial of your I-485 adjustment application to the AAO. This transfers your case out of the original USCIS adjudicator’s hands into an administrative appellate body for review.

Appeals must demonstrate clear error in the first decision, such as:

  • Misapplication of relevant laws
  • Incorrect evaluation of provided evidence
  • Failure to follow correct adjudication procedures

You cannot submit new documentation with an AAO appeal. Rather, you must show that the decision was flawed solely based on the original materials sent with your adjustment application.

Similar to motions, appeals through Form I-290B must be received within 30 days of denial (33 if notification is sent by mail). The two-stage appeals process involves:

  1. Initial Field Review: The original USCIS office reevaluates the case (up to 45 days)
  2. AAO Appellate Review: In-depth examination by AAO if the first office does not overturn denial (around six months)

Unfortunately, reversals are still unlikely, even during the second AAO review. Officers tend to uphold original decisions. Weigh the pros and cons of appealing versus other options with your attorney beforehand.

Refile Your Green Card Application from Scratch

If your adjustment application was denied “without prejudice,” USCIS allows submitting a brand new I-485. You’ll start the green card process all over again from square one.

Reapplying often provides better odds than demanding the agency admit fault in your case through motions and appeals. It lets you rehabilitate any issues that caused the initial denial and then demonstrate qualification for permanent resident status on the second try.

Before refiling, double-check that problems such as inadmissibility due to criminal records or confirmed marriage fraud cannot be overcome. Also, ensure the immigrant petition from your employer or family member sponsoring you remains valid.

As long as you still have a basis to apply and can correct any deficiencies, submitting another adjustment application may do the trick.

Renew Your Case with an Immigration Judge

Receiving an adjustment denial may also trigger placement into removal proceedings if you lack underlying immigration status, allowing you to remain in the U.S. Without any other options, your case gets transferred to an immigration judge.

There, you will attend a court hearing to defend against removal. You can renew your green card application by presenting the same adjustment materials to the judge. They take on a fresh review of your Form I-485 as a defense against deportation.

An advantage of this route is that it avoids resubmission costs and forms. However, removal hearings carry much higher stakes, including potential orders forcing you to leave the country if denied again. Engage a skilled attorney to represent you in court and build the strongest case possible.

Explore Alternative Immigration Pathways

In certain situations, your adjustment denial may permanently eliminate this green card avenue, such as if inadmissibility issues arise or your family/employment-based petition gets revoked.

website homepage of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration ServicesWhen adjustment no longer remains viable, discuss other potential immigration options with your attorney (for example, categories such as family unity waivers, temporary protected status, or change/extension of nonimmigrant status).

Some immigrants may qualify for employment-based visas through a current job offer or have potential asylum claims, depending on their unique circumstances. Weigh all prospective pathways forward and decide which one now works best.

Get Professional Assistance with Your Denied Adjustment of Status from Pride Immigration

Managing the next steps after an adjustment of status denial poses complex legal and procedural hurdles. Identifying the optimal recourse can impact your immigration future and ability to remain in the country. Seeking experienced counsel provides key insights on strategy and bolsters your case.

Pride Immigration’s lawyers have extensive experience with denied I-485 applications. By consulting Pride early about your best options post-denial, we optimize results across motions, appeals, refiling, or identifying alternative visa solutions.

Contact us today at (703) 594-4040 or online so we can get started on helping you with your denied adjustment of status right away.

The following two tabs change content below.

Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
Call Now Button