Know the Difference

Understanding the Distinction An appeal involves a comprehensive review of an unfavorable decision and the school's certification eligibility by both the original deciding body (SCU or SAOC) and an independent entity, the Administrative Appeals Team (AAT). The AAT conducts appellate reviews to ensure consistency, accuracy in immigration law interpretation, and timely decisions in line with the National Security Investigations Division's (NSID) mission. The denial or withdrawal notice from SCU or SAOC will indicate whether an appeal is possible, and the General Appeals Process Information PDF provides details. 

In contrast, a motion is a request directed solely to the original deciding body (SCU or SAOC for denial or withdrawal, or AAT for appeals) to reevaluate its decision. Unlike an appeal, a motion regarding SCU or SAOC decisions is not sent to AAT; instead, the latest official in the proceeding assesses it. You can file a motion to reopen and/or a motion to reconsider under certain conditions, even if an appeal is not an option. 

Two types of motions exist: 

  1. Motion to Reopen: This requests a review based on new facts, supported by affidavits or documentary evidence demonstrating eligibility at the time of the original petition. "New facts" refers to information not previously presented, relevant to the issues raised. 
  2. Motion to Reconsider: This requests a review based on an incorrect application of law or policy at the time of the decision. It should be substantiated with citations to relevant statutes, regulations, or precedent decisions, with no consideration for new facts or evidence. 

Please refer to 8 CFR 103.5(a)(3) for more details on motions to reconsider. 


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