As a Miami immigration lawyer, I often receive questions about what the appeals process is like. Below are some frequently asked questions about the appeals process.

The Immigration Judge has ordered me deported. Now what?

If the Immigration Judge orders you removed from the United States or if you are unsatisfied with the court’s bond decision, you may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

How do I begin my process of appealing to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)?

First, you should know that the appeals process can be long and complicated, and as such, I would highly encourage you to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer about your case. Your Miami immigration lawyer will remind you that you must reserve appeal after the judge issues his or her decision if you want to appeal to the BIA.  If you reserve appeal you have 30 days to file your Notice of Appeal from the date of the Immigration Judge’s decision.

What happens if I don’t file my Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the Immigration Judge’s decision?

If you do not file your NOA, that is, if the BIA does not receive your NOA, within 30 days of the Immigration Judge’s decision, the order becomes final.  If at the time of your hearing you are not sure if you want to appeal or not, you can always reserve appeal and change your mind later.  If you are not sure, it is always safer to reserve so you have 30 days to decide what to do.  If you waive appeal at your hearing, you will not be able to change your mind later. Again, I personally do not advise individuals to undertake the appeals process without representation by an immigration lawyer.

What happens if I am detained? How long will the appeals process take?

If you are detained, the appeal process can take anywhere between 4-6 months, or even longer. Note: It may be faster or slower depending on your case.

Can you give me some idea of what happens during the appeals process?

During the appeals process, you and/or your Miami immigration lawyer will:1)  Complete and send the “Notice of Appeal” forms to the BIA.  Remember that the BIA must receive your NOA within 30 days.  This is just the first step where you are telling the BIA that you want to appeal.

* If you win your case before the Immigration Judge and the government appeals, you will receive a copy of their NOA.  You DO NOT have to respond to this document, but you may do so if you want to.

2) The BIA will send you a receipt.  Keep a copy for your records. 3)  The BIA will send you a copy of the transcript, the Immigration Judge’s decision, and a briefing schedule.  The briefing schedule is your deadline for you and/or your Miami immigration lawyer to submit your brief. Note: Remember that appellate briefs are complicated — this is not something that I would recommend you undertake without representation  by an attorney.

4) You send your brief to the BIA.  The BIA must receive the brief by the deadline. You may ask for one 21 day extension – but must do so by the brief deadline.5) The BIA will review the briefs, and will generally make a decision in one to two months. You will receive the BIA’s written decision in the mail.

If you would like more information on the immigration appeals process, or about the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA), please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

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