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USCIS Motions to Reopen vs Motion to Reconsider: How To Win A Green Card After Denial

In this video, Immigration Green Card Attorney Carlos Batara discusses motions to reopen and motions to reconsider decisions by USCIS to deny permanent residence applications.

Known as I-290B motions, they enable immigrants to dispute negative outcomes based on factual or legal issues not properly assessed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials.

This video explains the differences between an I-290B Motion To Reopen and an I-290B Motion To Reconsider, which can be filed independently or combined, and shares examples of cases where USCIS denials were reversed due to government oversight or error.

Introduction To I-290B Motions

There are two classes of common USCIS mistakes, factual and legal, in permanent resident case denials.  Challenges for both types of errors begin with the filing of Form I-290B.

  • A USCIS motion to reopen asks that the decision be reevaluated based on the discovery of new evidence or changed circumstances.
  • A USCIS motion to reconsider asks that the decision be reexamined based on the improper disregard or misinterpretation of applicable law.

Taking a closer look at a few examples will help clarify the differences.

I-290B Motions To Reopen Green Card Denial Based On USCIS Factual Errors


Sometimes factual mistakes can be simple to correct.

Take Javier and Irene. Her adjustment of status application was denied because they failed to show up for their interview.

When they received notice of the USCIS decision, they were startled to learn their green card appointment had been scheduled. Upon discovering the interview notice was mailed to a wrong address, they promptly filed a motion to reopen.

Not all factual errors, of course, are quite as straight forward.

In a large number of cases, much like Yvonne and Robbie’s matter, the claim that USCIS has failed to weigh certain facts falls short as a result of the couple’s personal neglect in providing the evidence from the outset.

I-290B Motions To Reconsider Green Card Denial Due To USCIS Legal Mistakes


USCIS motions to reconsider based on legal mistakes are generally more difficult to win.

Gloria, born in Brazil, had entered the U.S. in her early 30s on a visitor visa. Because she was a college graduate, her uncle suggested she enroll at an adult school to learn English and live with his family until she could find suitable employment.

She attempted to renew her visa by driving to the port of entry and filing for an extension. Although the officer denied her request, and placed a rejection stamp in her passport, she was allowed to re-enter the U.S. since her visa had not yet expired.

At her marriage green card interview, the officer denied her application on the grounds that her last entry had been made without a rejected entry document.

In her USCIS motion to reconsider, Gloria argued that the law compelled an opposite conclusion. Because the officer had “waived her into the United States,” despite the rejection stamp, her entry constituted a lawful admission under existing law.

Combined USCIS Motions To Reopen And Reconsider Denial Of Permanent Residence

Other times a factual mistake is combined with a legal error.

This was Lorena and Albert’s situation. Albert, the U.S. citizen and financial sponsor, was a low wage earner. Lorena had obtained legal documentation to work in the U.S. almost two decades ago when her father filed for family unity benefits.



What Happens If Your Marriage Green Card Is Denied By USCIS?

She earned over three times the amount needed to meet the affidavit of support financial guidelines.

USCIS issued a denial of her permanent residence application based on Albert’s income.

The interviewing officer had failed to realize that because Lorena had more than 10 years of qualifying employment, she was exempt from the need to claim her husband’s income as her financial sponsor.

Lorena filed an I- 290B motion to reopen coupled with a I-290B motion to reconsider. Both motions were granted and she was granted permanent resident status.

(Editor’s Note: Do not confuse Immigration Court motions to reopen and reconsider with USCIS motions to reopen and reconsider. Although the technical grounds for the motions are similar in both types of proceedings, the procedural rules differ. In short, the court rules at the conclusion of deportation court hearings have different parameters from green card-related I-290B motions to reopen and reconsider.)

Video Outline

  • 1. 01:00 When Is A USCIS Denial Not The Final Decision?
  • 2. 02:32 What Is A I-290B Motion To Reopen?
  • 3. 04:34 I-290B Motion To Reopen – Example 1
  • 4. 05:58 I-290B Motion To Reopen – Example 2
  • 5. 07:08 I-290B Motion To Reopen – Example 3
  • 6. 08:18 What Is A I-290B Motion To Reconsider?
  • 7. 08:51 I-290B Motion To Reconsider – Example 1
  • 8. 10:17 I-290B Motion To Reconsider – Example 2
  • 9. 11:50 Combined Motions To Reopen And Reconsider
  • 10. 12:06 Combined Motions Example

Ready to take a serious and honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of your immigration case? Let’s get started with a personalized strategy and planning session . . .

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