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Tough AAO Odds May Push More Immigration Fights To Court

With the Administrative Appeals Office reluctant to reverse denials for business immigration petitions, attorneys say refiling a case or heading to federal court is often a smarter choice, as judges may be more objective in weighing a case than AAO examiners.

The AAO handles a range of petition denial appeals, from applications to sponsor a foreign fiance to bids to bring over a temporary worker on an H-1B visa. Approval rates at the office, however, are strikingly low, particularly when it comes to certain employment-related visa categories, according to statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Taking the fight to court also frequently makes the government “much more willing to talk to you” and reach a settlement, even if the court doesn’t issue a ruling, said Kate Kalmykov of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

“And that will never happen when you file something through the AAO,” Kalmykov added.

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