USCIS AWA decision pdf files

For those who have petitions with the USCIS, or who plan to have a petition with the USCIS, the below attached USCIS Adam Walsh Act appeal decisions may provide useful insight to help you better prepare your submissions in the hope of getting that very rare approval.

Each of the below pdf files are decisions from USCIS AWA appeals.

The ones with “AWA-approval” at the end were successful appeals, the others were denied appeals.

Also at the end of the list is another document that may be useful.



  1. The three approvals beginning November 2015 are all issued by the Administrative Appeals Office, not the USCIS. The AAO is an appellate arm of the USCIS under the Department of Homeland Security. The AAO has a close advisory relationship with the USCIS. The AAO has jurisdiction over certain types of appeals from USCIS decisions, including I-129F petitions for fiance visas. It is apparent that the AAO disagrees with USCIS practices concerning cases that fall under the Adam Walsh Act. There is an advantage to RSOL members to pursue a K1 fiance visa as compared to a CR or IR marriage visa in order to have a chance of approval at the AAO level.

    I-130 petitions for marriage visas can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA has distinct procedures for appeals. It is a separate body, not in such a close advisory relationship to the USCIS as is the AAO. So far, the BIA has declined to overrule USCIS decisions because the BIA believes that all decisions remain in the sole and unreviewable discretion of the USCIS. The BIA may welcome petitioners to pursue remedies in the Federal Courts, but it will not currently overrule USCIS decisions.

    For those cases headed for court, it is likely better to have a marriage relationship than a fiancee relationship because a marital union should have more rights and deference than a fiancee relationship.

    I assist in case processing for both visa types because I believe there are viable remedies for fiancee visas as well as for marriage visas. In the case of fiancee visas, there is the AAO, but then a weaker case in Federal Court if the AAO appeal is not favorable. In the case of marriage visas, the BIA won’t likely overrule the USCIS, but a sympathetic case in Federal Court can nullify current USCIS practice. The primary gist of a Federal Court action in my view is that the AWA statute is either void for vagueness or the USCIS application of statute is arbitrary and capricious. The approvals you see are by the AAO, not the USCIS. The USCIS approves virtually no one because the adjudicating officers have statutory license to capriciously deny everyone. It is easy to see the due process concern and so there is good reason to believe a Federal action will ultimately succeed.

    Notably, the 2013 certification to the AAO concerns an I-130 petition for spouse. The AAO has jurisdiction to review an I-130 petition for a marriage visa if it is certified by the USCIS to the AAO for an advisory opinion. We all are likely interested to hear the decision of the AAO regarding this I-130 petition certified to the AAO. Please post if anyone learns of the result.

  2. Thank you, Allan for the information. We admire your willingness to take on these difficult cases. This policy must be challenged to force the necessary change needed for the US government to stop destroying families and people’s lives. This must end!

  3. The AAO has assumed jurisdiction of all AWA denials. I should have updated my comment above long ago.

    • So if I understand you correct AAO now will be the reviewing authority for AWA denials? Does this mean that appeals may have a better chance now? My wife and I were just denied Feb 28 I haven’t received the paperwork yet but it shows on case status. We were in Hong Kong at the time and upon returning to the US my passport was revoked and confiscated. In a way I was lucky I wasn’t stopped from arrival in Hong Kong.

      Attorney Nicklaus Misiti did our petition/i-130 application.

      We are so distraught right now we just want to be together.

      • Tom,

        I’ll leave the legal question to Allan to answer. However, I’m sorry to hear about the confiscation of your passport. I’m beginning to hear this happen more and more. I just returned from Spain, without issue, but there was a moment in Spain that I thought there was an issue.

        I understand feeling distraught, believe me. My fiance and I have been trying to be together for over 2 years now, and traveling to see her is becoming more and more difficult. This is becoming very personal to all of us.

    • Desiree Bedoya-Doty

      HI my question is if AAO assuming all AWA denials can be considered as a standard procedure? Or can an AWA appeal being transferred to AAO stands a better chance? Thanks

    • even for I-130 cases?

    • do they still have AAO has assumed jurisdiction

    • please include the newest approvals and denials

  4. Tom & Darrin,

    I feel your pain,brothers. I filed almost 4 years ago and we are still waiting on USCIS. I have traveled many times back and forth to South America, and the only trouble that I have encountered is @ the Miami Customs. They areforever putting me in the “Room” with their interrogation tactics. But luckily I never had my passport taken from me. I have been married for 14 years to my wife and I have never come close to hurting her in any way. This is without any doubt a self created nightmare. But I can’t change the past, and I’m still an American Citizen and I want to Fight for my rights and yours rights. Please someone tell what I can do to help.

    • Terry,

      Thanks for writing and for visiting our site. As you say, it is often the return TO our own country that is the most difficult, but as you say, it is unfortunately a self-created nightmare. What I find most difficult to deal with is the idea that something I did nearly 15 years ago is affecting someone; hurting someone NOW, and I didn’t even know this person then. Hard to handle.

      As far as what you can do, there isn’t a lot we can do right now, but there are a few things.

      One, WRITE! Write to you local paper, write to your local legislators and try to show reason and logic. Show them how the statistics favor abolishing laws like the IML, the AWA and the registry.

      Two, show financial support for the groups that are doing the work. Paul Rigney with, Janice Bellucci with ASCOL, NARSOL, and WAR (Women Against the Registry) are all groups that act on our behalf and deserve our support.

      Third, follow the laws. Set a good example. It’s a difficult position where we find ourselves, but we cannot become overwhelmed and buckle under the pressure.

      Lastly, you mentioned that you have traveled often to S.America. Which countries have you gone to? Have you had any issues in those countries? I’d be interested in hearing from you, but please also visit and complete the form for the Travel Matrix. This tells other registrants where they can and cannot travel and is a huge help to all of us who wish to see the world and/or visit loved ones while obeying laws in the countries we visit.

      Thanks for all your support, and send our thoughts to your wife. We must all stand strong together. Welcome to the fight.


    • I’m not sure if you want to make the process move faster. I was able to get them to make a decision instead of waiting it out so long.

      I called on the status twice they did get back to me telling me it was in admin hold. I finally went to a Congressman and they filed for an update. They received the same reply but shortly after it moved to a decision within 3 months.

      I don’t think it affected the outcome but had to say. I think they just deny about all of them. Now weare appealing to AAO on it.

      They sent it back twice saying ir was the wrong appeal finally the attorney was able to get a person in immigration to look at it. We are waiting to see where to go now.

    This is super rare so really don’t worry about this!!!! i am mainly posting it for information and for future reference.

    when your case is stuck and i mean stuck for WELL OVER A YEAR waiting for secuirty checks or Adminstrative processing and you are not getting any help from congressman or any other avenue you can sue the US gov’t to act on your case (ACT, means do something, so it could be deneid or approved)

    Mandamus can be used to compel administrative agencies to act.

    The Mandamus Act authorizes a court to order a remedy.
    U.S. District Court can compel an adjudication, but cannot compel a
    specific outcome or decision.

    Even if the government has a nondiscretionary duty to adjudicate
    an application, Mandamus is appropriate only if the government
    fails to act within a reasonable amount of time.
     Where there is no statutory deadline for adjudication, what is
    “reasonable” may depend on the facts of each case.

    Plaintiff must show that he/she has exhausted all available
    administrative remedies that are available.

    Seeking a USCIS benefit? Sue the Secretary of the DHS, USCIS
    Director, USCIS Service Center Director, National Benefits
    Center, District Director and/or Field Office Director?
     Delay in adjudication possibly due to background checks?
    Sue the FBI Director and the Attorney General of the U.S.

    if you plan on doing this get a lawyer.

  6. my petition has not been denied as of yet. It is stuck in adjudication. Obtained a great attorney. Allan, for worse case scenario.
    I’m hoping since I’ve have our child of the marriage here with me In Florida USCIS will show some Morality on keeping the mother and child together. We know well our government has no shame to destroy family’s of US citizens.

  7. this would make INA using AWA to block petitioners Unconstutional
    B. The implications of the legality of child marriage in U.S. immigration law
    The fact that child marriages are legal in the United States has significant implications for the U.S. immigration system. The INA does not prohibit minors from petitioning on behalf of a spouse or fiancé to receive immigration benefits, nor does it prohibit a U.S. adult citizen from petitioning on behalf of a minor spouse or fiancé.29 USCIS will only consider whether the petitioner’s age at marriage “violates the laws of the place of celebration or the public policy of the U.S. state in which the couple plans to reside.”30 However, USCIS does not require the minor
    to demonstrate parental or judicial consent, even if the state in which they will reside would have
    required it to marry.
    I have the entire Brief

  8. AWA under INA doesnt apply?….
    Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), a U.S. child may petition for a spouse or fiancé living in another country, and a U.S. adult may petition for a visa for a minor spouse or fiancé living abroad.

  9. Hello everyone, My I 130 was denied by USCIS. My attorney filed filed a Motion to AAO. I received a noticed from the AAO stating that they transferred my case back to the Original USCIS Office that denied me. Does anyone know what this means, or is this good or bad. Please help me if you can. Thanks!

  10. Why not changing AWA so a citizen ‘s rights not to be taken away unconstitutional. We must ask from every one to participate to petition for changing these requirements in AWA. Are you in?

    • Yes we are in. I am not thinking normal again. Since this case came up… for the paste 5 years now. I have been in the dark.

  11. Our I-130 was denied and our Attorney said that the AAO is no longer handling AWA cases. We need to file a law suit to get the AWA removed as it is severely flawed. I am looking into organizations that would be willing to file a class action lawsuit.

    • Hello. Please let me know if you find a way out. I have been on this case for the past 5 years now. Its so frustrating nd depressive. Please update me. Tnks

  12. It seems the appealate role on “no risk” was removed due to lack of agency.

    “Clarify That the AAO Does Not Have Appellate Jurisdiction Over “No Risk” Determinations Under the Adam Walsh Act
    The proposed Form I-290B Instructions clarify that the AAO does not have jurisdiction over appeals of “no risk” determinations under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Public Law 109-248, 120 Stat. 587 (AWA). Section 402(a)(2) of the AWA bars approval of family-based visa petitions filed by U.S. citizens who have been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” unless the DHS Secretary, in his or her “sole and unreviewable discretion,” determines that the U.S. citizen poses “no risk” to the beneficiary of the petition. For the reasons provided in the 60-day notice and in the responses to the public comments, this change is maintained in the update to the Form I-290B Instructions.”

    from here:

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