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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Appeals and Motions

What is the difference between filing an appeal and a motion?

  • A motion to reopen and/or reconsider the Notice of Denial, Automatic Withdrawal (AW) or Withdrawal on Notice (WON) follows this process:
  1. The official who made the latest decision in the proceeding (i.e., the School Certification Unit (SCU) or the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Analysis and Operations Center (SAOC) adjudicator) adjudicates the motion.
  2. A motion on an SCU and/or SAOC decision is not forwarded to the SEVP appeals team for adjudication.
  3. Once the SCU/SAOC adjudicator has completed a review, the SCU chief or SAOC chief reviews and signs their respective motions.
  4. Once signed, SCU/SAOC issues the motion decision to the petitioner via email.
  • An appeal of a Notice of Denial, AW or WON follow this process:
  1. The official who made the unfavorable decision (i.e., the SCU or SAOC adjudicator) reviews the appeal.
  2. Within 45 calendar days of receipt, this official decides whether favorable action is warranted.
    1. If favorable action is warranted, the reviewing official may treat the appeal as a motion to reopen or reconsider, solely for the purpose of overturning the earlier decision and take favorable action.
    2. If favorable action is not warranted, the reviewing official forwards the appeal and the record of proceeding (ROP) to the SEVP Appeals Team (SAT) for adjudication of the appeal. The school will not receive notice of the appeal and ROP moving forward to SAT.
  3. During the appeal adjudication with SAT, SAT conducts a thorough and independent review of the case. As part of this review, an entity within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reviews the appeal decision to ensure regulatory compliance and legal sufficiency.
  4. The SEVP Director reviews and signs the appeal decision.
  5. Once the SEVP Director signs the appeal decision, the decision will be issued to you by SAT via email.
  • A motion to reopen and/or reconsider an issued appeal decision follows this process:
  1. The official who made the latest decision in the proceeding (i.e., the SAT adjudicator) adjudicates the motion.
  2. Once the SAT adjudicator has completed the review, the SEVP Director reviews and signs the motion decision.
  3. Once the SEVP Director signs the motion decision, the decision will be issued to you by SAT via email.
  • See 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(ii), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(i)-(iv) and 8 CFR 214.3(e).

How do I file an appeal?

  • An individual with legal standing (e.g., the president, owner or head of the school, or a principal designated school official) or a designated attorney/accredited representative must submit a Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion," and check the appropriate box in Part 3 for an appeal. For instructions on how to properly fill out the Form I-290B, click here.
  • If you choose to designate an attorney or accredited representative to file an appeal on your behalf, a properly signed Form G-28, "Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative" must also be submitted with the appeal.  
  • Submitting a brief and/or evidence with the Form I-290B is not required, but you may submit a brief and evidence if you choose. You must, however, submit a statement regarding the basis for the appeal that specifically identifies an erroneous conclusion of law or fact in the decision being appealed. Failure to identify an erroneous conclusion of law or statement of fact will result in a summary dismissal. Please submit the Form I-290B with your appeal statement and any brief and/or evidence electronically to sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov. All evidence and/or your brief must be submitted together at one time.
  • You may request up to an additional 30 calendar days to submit an appeal brief and/or evidence by checking option1(b) in Part 3 of the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion."
    • If you have selected the 30 calendar day extension box in Part 3 on the Form I-290B, submit the evidence and/or brief related to an appeal together at one time within the 30 calendar days allotted.
    • You also may make a written request to the SEVP appeals team (SAT) for additional time to submit a brief beyond the 30 calendar day extension. Please submit this request electronically to sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov. SAT may, for good cause shown, grant the request for additional time.
  • There is currently no fee for filing an appeal with SEVP.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(1), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2) and 8 CFR 214.4.

Who reviews my appeal?

  • The official who made the unfavorable decision (i.e., the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) School Certification Unit (SCU) or the SEVP Analysis and Operations Center (SAOC) adjudicator) first reviews an appeal of a Notice of Denial, Automatic Withdrawal, or Withdrawal on Notice. Within 45 calendar days of receiving the appeal, the official will decide whether favorable action is warranted.
  • A reviewing official who determines that favorable action is warranted may treat the appeal as a motion to reopen or reconsider, solely for the purpose of overturning the earlier decision, and take favorable action. If SCU/SAOC decides that favorable action is warranted, they will contact the school and notify the petitioner of their favorable decision in writing.
  • If SCU/SAOC decides that favorable action is not warranted, the appeal is forwarded to SAT for review. The SAT adjudicator will review and adjudicate your appeal submission and the record of proceeding. As part of the appeal review process, an entity within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will review the SAT's decision to ensure regulatory compliance and legal sufficiency.
  • The SEVP Director then will review and sign the appeal decision.
  • Once the SEVP Director signs the appeal decision, the decision will be issued to you by SAT via email.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2) and 8 CFR 214.3(e).

What are the requirements for filing a motion?

  • General Motion Requirements
    • The motion must be in writing and signed by an affected party (e.g., the president, owner or head of the school or a principal designated school official), or the attorney or representative of record, and submitted electronically. The motion must be submitted (on a separate sheet of paper) with Form I-290B and may be accompanied by a brief, although the brief is not a requirement.
    • The applicant or petitioner must file any motion to reopen and/or reconsider within 30 calendar days of the decision that the motion seeks to reopen and/or reconsider. However, per 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i), failure to file a motion to reopen before the 30 day regulatory deadline expires may be excused at the discretion of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) if it is demonstrated that the delay was reasonable and was beyond the control of the applicant or petitioner.
    • A statement about whether the validity of the unfavorable decision has been, or is the subject of any judicial proceeding must accompany the motion. If so, the statement must include the court, nature, date, and status or result of the proceeding.
    • The motion must be addressed to the official with jurisdiction (the official who made the latest decision in the proceedings), which would be one of the following:
      • The SEVP School Certification Unit (SCU) adjudicator
      • The SEVP Analysis and Operations Center (SAOC) adjudicator
      • The SEVP Appeals Team (SAT) adjudicator if a motion is filed regarding an appeal decision
    • You must submit the motion to SEVP for forwarding to the official having jurisdiction (i.e., SCU, SAOC or SAT). Please submit the motion and any accompanying brief and/or evidence electronically to sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov.
    • There is currently no fee for filing a motion with SEVP.
    • See 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i)-(iii).
  • Motion to Reopen Requirements - If you want to file a motion to reopen, you must submit the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion," checking the box for a motion to reopen (i.e., Part 3 Option 2d). Remember these important points about a motion to reopen:
    • A motion to reopen must state the new facts to be provided in the reopened proceeding, and be supported by affidavits or other documentary evidence.
    • In the case of a denial or withdrawal due to abandonment (e.g., failure to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) from SCU or SAOC within the time allowed) a motion to reopen may be filed if there is evidence illustrating the decision was in error for one of the following reasons:
      • The requested evidence was not material to the issue of eligibility;
      • The evidence requested by SEVP was submitted with the petition or the RFE, or additional information was complied with during the allotted period; or
      • The SCU or SAOC RFE or NOIW went to an email address other than that on the application, petition or notice of representation. This also applies in cases where you advised SEVP in writing, electronically, of a change of email address or change of representation, but SEVP failed to send the RFE or NOIW to the new email address.
    • See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(15), 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i)-(iii), 8 CFR 103.5(a)(2) and 8 CFR 214.4(d).
  • Motion to Reconsider Requirements - If you want to file a motion to reconsider, you must submit the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion," checking the box for a motion to reconsider (i.e., Part 3 Option 2e). A motion to reconsider must meet the following requirements:
    • State the reasons for reconsideration.
    • Be supported by "any pertinent precedent decisions to establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or [SEVP] policy".
    • Establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of that decision.
    • See 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i)-(iii) and8 CFR.103.5(a)(3).
  • Motion to Reopen and Reconsider Requirements – If you want to file a motion to reopen and reconsider, you must submit the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion," checking the box for a motion to reopen and reconsider (i.e., Part 3 Option 2f). A motion to reopen and reconsider must meet the requirements for both a motion to reopen and reconsider as described above.
  • For instructions on how to properly fill out the Form I-290B, click here.
  • In most cases, if SEVP denies your motion to reopen and/or reconsider, you may file another petition for SEVP certification at any time. If, however, SEVP has issued a Withdrawal on Notice (WON) or a Notice of Denial of Recertification to your school, you must wait one calendar year from the date of the WON or Notice of Denial of Recertification to file a new Form I-17, "Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student." Eligibility to re-petition in those two instances will be at the discretion of the Director of SEVP.
  • See 8 CFR 214.4(a)(1)-(3).

Who reviews my motion?

  • The official who made the latest decision in the proceeding is the official having jurisdiction.
    • If you are filing a motion on a decision issued by the School Certification Unit (SCU) or the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Analysis and Operations Center (SAOC), the SCU or SAOC adjudicator who issued your Notice of Denial, Automatic Withdrawal, or Withdrawal on Notice is the official who will adjudicate the motion. The motion will then be forwarded to the SCU Unit Chief or the SAOC Chief for review and signature. SCU/SAOC will then issue the decision to the petitioner via email.
    • If you are filing a motion on an appeal decision issued by the SEVP Appeals Team (SAT), the SAT adjudicator who reviewed and adjudicated your appeal will review the motion. The motion will then be forwarded to the SEVP Director for review and signature. After the decision is signed by the Director, SAT will issue the decision to the petitioner via email.
  • See 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i)-(ii) and 8 CFR 214.3(e).

Who may file an appeal or motion or request information regarding a school’s appeal or motion?

  • An individual with legal standing (e.g., the president, owner or head of the school or a principal designated school official) or a designated attorney/accredited representative must submit a Form I-290B, “Notice of Appeal or Motion,” and check the appropriate box in Part 3 for an appeal or motion.
  • Students of a school may not file an appeal or motion.
  • If you choose to designate an attorney or accredited representative to file an appeal on your behalf, a properly signed Form G-28, "Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative," must also be submitted with the appeal or motion.
  • Only an affected party, or its attorney or representative may request specific information regarding a school’s appeal or motion, submit questions regarding the school’s appeal rights, or request a status update regarding a school’s appeal or motion.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(1)(iii)(B), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2) and 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(iii).

Is there a fee for filing an appeal or motion?

  • There is currently no fee associated with filing either an appeal or motion.
  • See 8 CFR 214.4.

How long do I have to file a motion?

  • All motions seeking reconsideration or reopening of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program's (SEVP's) decisions must be filed within 30 calendar days of the decision. SEVP may not grant extensions to the filing deadline. The petitioner or applicant must submit the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion," and any supporting documents within the time allotted.
    • Limited exception: per 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(i), failure to file a motion to reopen before the 30 day regulatory deadline expires may be excused at the discretion of SEVP if it is demonstrated that the delay was reasonable and was beyond the control of the applicant or petitioner.
  • See 8 CFR 103.5(a).

How long do I have to file an appeal and/or brief/evidence in support of the appeal?

  • If the initial Form I-17 petition was denied, the petitioner has 30 calendar days from the date the Notice of Denial was issued to file the appeal.
  • If the petitioner was withdrawn from Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification or denied recertification, the petitioner has 15 calendar days from the date the Automatic Withdrawal, Withdrawal on Notice or recertification denial was issued to file an appeal.
  • You may request an additional 30 calendar days (first extension) to submit a brief and/or evidence in support of an appeal by checking the appropriate box in Part 3 on the Form I-290B, "Notice of Appeal or Motion."
    • If you need more time beyond the first extension, you may submit a written request via email to the SEVP Appeals Team (SAT) for additional time (second extension) to submit a brief and/or evidence. SAT may, for good cause shown, grant your request for a second extension.
    • If you request a second extension, the request must be submitted to sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov before the deadline for the first extension.
  • Per 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(v)(B)(2), if an untimely appeal meets the merits of a motion to reopen or reconsider, as described in 8 CFR 103.5(a), the appeal must be treated as a motion and a decision must be made on the merits of the case.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(i) and (vii), 8 CFR 103.5(a) and 8 CFR 214.4(h).

Where do I submit my appeal or motion?

  • You may file your appeal or motion electronically by sending the Form I-290B, as well as any brief and/or supporting evidence/documentation to sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov. As stated on the Form I-290B, “on a separate sheet of paper, you must provide a statement regarding the basis for the appeal or motion.” If you are unable to submit via email, please contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program Appeals Team and request a fax number for submission.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(vi), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(i) and 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(iii).

Do I need an attorney to file an appeal or motion?

  • A petitioner does not need an attorney or accredited representative, as defined in 8 CFR 1.2 and 292.1 respectively, to file an appeal or motion.
  • If a petitioner chooses to designate an attorney or accredited representative to file an appeal or motion on the school’s behalf, a properly signed Form G-28, "Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Representative," must also be submitted with the appeal or motion.
  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program cannot communicate with an attorney or accredited representative regarding a specific school until receiving a properly signed Form G-28.
  • See 8 CFR 1.2, 8 CFR 103.2(a)(3), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2)(v)(A)(2) and 8 CFR 292.1.

Do I always have the option to file an appeal or motion?

  • If you receive a Notice of Denial, Automatic Withdrawal (AW), or Withdrawal on Notice (WON) from the School Certification Unit (SCU) or the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Analysis & Operations Center (SAOC), your right to file an appeal or option to file a motion will be explained in the notice. For examples of filing rights and options see below:
    • If you have received a Notice of Denial for initial certification or a Notice of Denial of Recertification, you have the right to file an appeal or may file a motion to reopen and/or reconsider. An appeal or motion must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date that the Notice of Denial was issued.
    • If you have received a Notice of Summary Denial of Recertification, you may file a motion to reopen. A motion to reopen must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date that the Notice of Summary Denial of Recertification was issued.
    • If you have received a Notice of Denial due to abandonment, you may file a motion to reopen. A motion to reopen must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date that the Notice of Denial was issued.
    • If you have received an AW due to an alleged failure to timely report a change of ownership, you have the right to file an appeal or may file a motion to reopen and/or reconsider. An appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days of the date that the AW was issued. A motion must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date that the AW was issued.
    • If you have received a WON, you have the right to file an appeal or may file a motion to reopen and/or reconsider. An appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days of the date that the WON was issued. A motion must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date that the WON was issued.
  • You may not file an appeal or motion and a new Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance of Nonimmigrant Student,” simultaneously.
  • If you choose to file an appeal or motion after receiving a Notice of Denial of initial certification, a Notice of Summary Denial of Recertification or an AW, you may not file a new petition for certification until SEVP issues a final decision on your appeal or motion. After that, you may file a new petition at any time.
  • If you choose to file an appeal or motion after receiving a WON or a Notice of Denial of Recertification, you may not file a new petition for certification until SEVP issues a decision on your appeal or motion, and you are ineligible to re-petition for SEVP certification for at least one calendar year from the date of the issued WON or Notice of Denial of Recertification decision. Additionally, eligibility to re-petition after the one year period is at the discretion of the SEVP Director.
  • See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(15), 8 CFR 103.3, 8 CFR 103.5, 8 CFR 214.4(a)(1)-(3), and 8 CFR 214.4(h).

If I decide not to file a motion or appeal, do I have any other options?

  • A petitioner may decide to file a new Form I-17, "Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student," for Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification. A new petition must stand on its own merit. Any restrictions on filing a new Form I-17 petition will be stated in your Notice of Denial, Withdrawal on Notice (WON) or Automatic Withdrawal (AW) decision.
    • A petitioner who receives a Notice of Denial for initial certification, a Notice of Summary Denial of Recertification, a Notice of Denial due to abandonment, or an AW due to an alleged failure to timely report a change of ownership, may file a new Form I-17 petition for SEVP certification at any time and submit evidence that is current as of the new date of filing.
    • A petitioner who receives a WON or a Notice of Denial of Recertification must wait at least one calendar year from the date of the WON or denial of recertification to file a new Form I-17 petition. Additionally, eligibility to re-petition is at the discretion of the SEVP Director. All evidence submitted with the new petition must be current as of the new filing date.
  • Schools and their officials have an obligation to the U.S. government to comply with the recordkeeping, retention, reporting and other requirements in 8 CFR 214.3. With any new Form I-17 petition for SEVP certification, SEVP will consider the extent to which a school and its officials have fulfilled these obligations to students and the U.S. government during any previous period of SEVP certification.
  • See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(1), 8 CFR 214.3, 8 CFR 214.3(h)(2)(ii), 8 CFR 214.4(a)(1)-(3) and 8 CFR 214.4(i)(3).

What information can I provide on appeal?

  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) thoroughly reviews all appeal submissions including all information and evidence provided. When determining what information and evidence to submit with your appeal, be aware that 8 CFR 103.3(a)(1)(v) requires that an appealing school specifically identify an erroneous conclusion of law or statement of fact in the decision being appealed. Additionally, appealing schools should also be aware that 8 CFR 103.2(b)(1) and 214.3(a)(3) require that all evidence submitted must establish your school’s eligibility for SEVP certification at the time of filing.
  • See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(1), 8 CFR 103.3(a)(1)(v) and 8 CFR 214.3(a)(3).

How long will it take to process my appeal or motion?

  • Appeals and motions are processed in the order in which they are received. Processing times are dependent on the volume of cases received and vary based on the complexity of each case. After an appeal or motion is filed, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program cannot discuss the specifics of the case while the appeal or motion is pending.
  • See 8 CFR 103.3, 8 CFR 103.5 and 8 CFR 214.4 for additional information regarding appeals and motions.

How am I notified of the decision on appeal or motion?

  • All notices from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), including decisions on appeals or motions, will be served via email to you and to your attorney or accredited representative of record (where applicable).
  • To ensure delivery of your decision, you must inform SEVP of an email address change. You cannot update your contact information via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or through the SEVP Help Desk while your school is in Denied or Withdrawn status. In order to report an email address change, please contact the SEVP Appeals Team (SAT) at sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov and either the School Certification Unit (SCU) (if the denial or withdrawal was issued by SCU) at schoolcert.sevis@ice.dhs.gov, or SEVP Analysis and Operations Center (SAOC) (if the withdrawal was issued by SAOC) at sevp.support@ice.dhs.gov.
  • See 8 CFR 214.3(e).

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

  • You may contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program Appeals Team via email at sevp.appeals@ice.dhs.gov.
  • For general Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) questions or questions not related to the appeal/motion process, please contact the SEVP Response Center via email at sevp@ice.dhs.gov or via phone at 703-603-3400 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, except holidays.

SEVP dismissed my appeal; do I have other recourse with SEVP?

  • You have two available options of recourse with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP):
    • You may file a motion to reopen and/or reconsider the appeal decision with the SEVP Appeals Team; or
    • You may file a new Form I-17, "Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student," (Form I-17 petition) with the SEVP School Certification Unit.
      • If you received a Notice of Denial of initial certification, a Notice of Summary Denial of Recertification or an Automatic Withdrawal, and SEVP has dismissed your appeal, you may file a new Form I-17 petition at any time.
      • If you received a Withdrawal on Notice (WON) or a Notice of Denial of Recertification, and SEVP has dismissed your appeal, you must wait at least one calendar year from the date of the issued WON or Notice of Denial of Recertification decision to file a new Form I-17 petition. Additionally, eligibility to re-petition is at the discretion of the SEVP Director.
  • If you want to file a motion to reopen and/or reconsider, please see Frequently Asked Questions 4 and 8 CFR 103.5 for further information. You may not file a motion and a new Form I-17 petition simultaneously.
  • See 8 CFR 103.5 and 8 CFR 214.4(a)(1)-(3).