Role and Structure of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)

Leadership

Ron Rosenberg is the Chief, Administrative Appeals Office.

Mission

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) will provide timely, consistent, and accurate resolution of appeals through written decisions that are fair, impartial, and legally supportable by:

  • ensuring consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration laws, regulations, and policies;
  • maintaining awareness of developments in applicable case law, regulations, statutes, and policies;
  • striving for efficiency and timely resolution in processing each appeal;
  • recommending the publication of precedent decisions to clarify adjudication issues.

What it does

AAO adjudicates appeals under authority delegated to the USCIS by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to the formation of the AAO, denied petitions and applications were appealed to one of four regional commissioners.

The appeals officers of the Administrative Appeals Office work to resolve immigration issues in a timely and efficient manner, and produce appellate decisions that provide fair and legally supportable resolutions of individual applications and petitions for immigration benefits.

The Administrative Appeals Office reviews the decisions made by USCIS adjudication officers on petitions and applications for immigration benefits to ensure consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration laws, regulations and policies. The AAO maintains awareness of applicable case law to insure compliance with the most current legal standards while ensuring accuracy and legal sufficiency. When necessary, the AAO recommends the publication of precedent decisions to clarify issues in the adjudication program.

Decisions issued by the AAO are posted online. The decisions are first forwarded to the USCIS Freedom of Information Act office so that any personally identifiable or proprietary information can be redacted properly to protect the parties before the decisions are available online.

Organizational structure

The AAO is currently composed of 88 employees divided into nine branches.

[USCIS organizational chart]USCIS Organizational Chart

Branch 1 is responsible for appeals of denials of I-129 H, L, O, P and Q petitions and N-470 petitions.

Branch 2 is responsible for appeals of denials of applications for Temporary Protected Status.

Branch 3 is responsible for appeals of denials of I-129F, I-131, I-212, I-360 petitions other than Amerasians and special immigrant religious worker petitions, I-600 and I-600A orphan petitions, I-914 and 1-918 T and U visa petitions and the relating adjustment applications, I-485 certified denials, Section 13 adjustment applications, and I-800A adoption applications.

Branch 4 is responsible for appeals of denials of I-360 Amerasian and Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions, I-601 and I-612 waivers, N-565, and N-600 applications.

Branch 5 is responsible for appeals of denials of petitions filed on behalf of aliens of extraordinary ability, special immigrant or nonimmigrant religious workers, immigrant investors, and outstanding professors and researchers. In addition, Branch 5 is responsible for appeals of denials of Regional Center Applications and of bond breaches issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Branch 6 is responsible for appeals of denials of denied employment-based second and third preference immigrant visa petitions for professionals, skilled and unskilled workers and I-905 healthcare worker petitions.

Branch 7 is responsible for appeals based on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.

The Appeals Fraud Branch assists appeals officers in the detection and deterrence of fraud in immigration matters.

The Management Support Branch provides support to the managers and employees of the AAO in the areas of budget and finance, facilities and office services, human resources, and contract file room oversight.

* [USCIS Organizational Chart] Retrieved from uscis.gov*