How can I get USCIS to fix a mistake that they made? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer. Practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
We have that Facebook Group “immigrant home”, if you’re not a member, go ahead and sign up. It’s an open group where we allow people in and we talk about immigration issues of the day.
One of our members asked, “How do I get immigration to fix one of their own mistakes?”
And this is a very tricky question because in my experience, USCIS does not very often admit that they made a mistake. So sometimes for instance, they’ll reject an application because they say a filing fee is owed, but it’s not. And we’ll have to write them back and forth like four times to fix their mistake.
Also, we’ve had situations where they have demanded that somebody get fingerprinted, even though they’re statutorily not required to get fingerprinted because they’re too old, but you still have USCIS because they have this computer program mindset where they can’t really do any independent thinking, they just do what’s next, where they just keep making mistakes like that.
So we see from time to time, USCIS making mistakes, both big and small. And I think this particular question is about smaller mistakes.
Now for big mistakes, you’re going to either file a lawsuit to challenge the decision in federal court, or you’re going to go through the appeals process either to the Administrative Appeals Office or to The Board of Immigration Appeals, depending on what kind of case that it is.
But generally getting USCIS to acknowledge a mistake, let’s say they took your case and rejected it right away, kept your filing fee. They’re not going to give that money back.
It’s almost impossible to get USCIS to admit a mistake. So what we do when people come to see us having experienced USCIS maybe making mistake, what we do is we ask them to show us what they submitted and we try to walk through and figure out what exactly happened.
If we do think USCIS made a mistake, we’ll refile it with an explanation as to what mistake they’re making. This can be hard and problematic and difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to just go along with what they’re saying.
So when you believe USCIS has made a mistake, number one, you’re going to have to prove it. Number two, you’re going to have to be prepared to bang your head against the wall for a while, because sometimes it’s easier just to refile and get a new case started. So every mistake is different.
Every case is different.
So you can’t take this video as the gospel truth. You need to talk to an immigration lawyer, somebody who knows what they’re doing to see if in fact it’s USCIS’s mistake.
Sometimes we’ve received things back from USCIS where we thought they made a mistake and when we looked at it, we figured out that it was actually our mistake, so that too can happen.
So mistakes are a big thing in immigration. You need to figure out whose fault it is. And then of course the one thing you’re always going to want to be careful about are deadlines. So if someone’s about to age out or someone’s not going to be eligible for a benefit, sometimes you might want to try to keep that old case alive in order to keep the rules from when that case was filed in place.
Like for now, with the public charge, you might want to appeal a case that you think would be a tough public charge case if it gets denied for some wrong reason, as opposed to simply refiling, which is what we’d like to do in lots of other situations.
We hope you found this video helpful. If you did join that Facebook Group I mentioned, “immigrant home”.
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