Once you have officially been handed a deportation order from the judge at your merits hearing, you will have three chances to reverse the judge’s decision. You’ll be able to make an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Federal Circuit, and the Supreme Court. To discover valuable information about each of the three levels of appeals that comprise the appeals process, simply continue reading. Particularly if you are concerned that you may be forced to return to your country of origin and wish to remain in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Learn About The Legal Levels In The U.S. Immigration Appeals Process

The Three Levels Of Appeals

The Board Of Immigration Appeals

If you were surprised with your judge’s decision to deport you from the U.S, as you believe that you presented a strong case and provided evidence as to why you have a right to legally remain in the country, plan to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Appealing to the Board of Immigration Appeals or the BIA is a relatively simple process. Especially if you announce your decision to lodge an appeal to your immigration judge at the conclusion of your merits hearing. In which case your deportation date will immediately be extended to allow you to remain in the country until an announcement is made by the Board of Immigration Appeals about your submission.

However, even if you don’t inform your immigration judge of your intention to appeal their decision, you will still be able to appeal to the BIA, so long as you do so before 30 days have passed since the date of your merits hearing. So if you’re not sure whether you’d like to lodge an appeal at the conclusion of your merits hearing, you do have a month to talk to an immigration attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of appealing to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

As you are not able to present brand new information or evidence to the Board of Immigration Appeals, there is little to do once you’ve lodged your appeal. As the BIA will simply go through all of the documents associated with your immigration court proceedings and the evidence which was presented, in order to decide whether the ruling which the presiding judge made followed the law. Or whether the presiding judge made an error in judgment. If the BIA rules in your favor, you will not be ordered to leave the country.

The Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit is made up of 13 distinct circuit courts. Each circuit court deals with appeals from different states. So the court that will be in charge of deliberating on your appeal, will depend on the state in which you appeared in an immigration court. The job of the circuit court that looks over your appeal is to decide whether or not the immigration judge who handled your case, came to the right lawful conclusion or whether there is a chance that the judge in question misinterpreted immigration law. If they believe that the judge wrongfully interpreted the law in regards to your case, they will choose to overturn the judge’s decision.

It’s also common for individuals to appeal to the Federal Circuit if they have evidence that shows that the judge who presided over their immigration case, has a history of deporting the vast majority of cases that they deal with. One of the reasons why the Federal Circuit was initially set up was to prevent immigration judges from having too much power. As judges are human and some judges are stricter than others when it comes to immigration cases.

If the Board of Immigration Appeals does not rule in your favor, it’s well worth hiring an immigration attorney to help you submit your appeal to the Federal Circuit. One of the only downsides of attempting to appeal to the Federal Circuit is that many circuits are often inundated with cases and as a result, it often takes more than 8 months to hear back from the Federal Circuit. For this reason, it’s paramount to apply for an extension to your deportation order, in order to remain state-side until your Federal Circuit appeal has reached a conclusion. Especially as if you leave the country, even as part of a forced deportation your appeal to the Federal Circuit will automatically be voided.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest level court in the U.S and has the power to overrule any decisions which have been made in lower courts. Such as the immigration courts and the Federal Circuit. So if you have no luck in earlier appeals, don’t rule out appealing to the Supreme Court. Especially if your upcoming deportation has high stakes, such as if you are set to be deported to a country where you are likely to deal with persecution. Either for your political stance, cultural group, or religious beliefs. As in these circumstances, your appeal may be a landmark case that the Supreme Court is willing to deliberate on in order to set a precedent for similar cases around the country.

Legal Assistance

If you want to ensure that each of your appeals has a high chance of being successful, it’s well worth investing in a highly qualified immigration attorney who has a well-established reputation. As an immigration attorney will know the exact steps which need to be taken in order to create appeals with a high chance of success. One of the best ways to choose an attorney is to select an attorney who has a high success rate, which they may be able to replicate with your immigration case.


If you wish to seek asylum status or refugee status in the United States for your safety or you have been ordered to attend an immigration trial as you broke an immigration law as a legal resident, it’s well worth being prepared to appeal the judge’s decision. If they choose to hand you a deportation order and you believe that you have a strong case to remain in the U.S.


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