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What if your application for a Green Card is denied?

Immigration Services

Many immigrants in Kentucky and elsewhere in the United States will apply for a Green Card in hopes of becoming lawful permanent residents. Unfortunately, not every application is approved the first time around. When a person receives an unfavorable decision after applying for residency, they may be able to file either a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider. It is important to understand what these two motions accomplish, so applicants can choose the one that is right for them.

A motion to reopen is a request that the entity that denied the application review its decision in light of new facts. These facts must not have been included in the initial application or proceeding. These new facts must be based on documentary evidence and affidavits that show how the applicant was eligible when the first application was filed. Previously stated facts should not be included in a motion to reopen.

A motion to reconsider, on the other hand, is a request that the entity that denied the application review its decision because the basis of the denial was due to an incorrect application of law or policy. Motions to reconsider must state that the entity's decision was wrong based on the evidence that was part of the record when the decision was made. Applicable laws, regulations or other precedent decisions that existed when the application was filed must be included in the motion and it must be shown how these laws or policies were wrongfully applied to the decision being reviewed. No new facts will be considered when an entity is reviewing a motion to reconsider.

In the end, whether a person pursues a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider depends on why the immigrant's application was denied. If new facts exist that would make the application viable, it may be worthwhile to consider a motion to reopen. On the other hand, if the immigrant believes their application was denied due to an incorrect interpretation of the law, then a motion to reconsider may be appropriate.

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