The asylum officer may decide to refer an application to an Immigration Judge for a final decision. If the judge denies the application, the asylum seeker will get a letter explaining how to appeal. The appeal is sent to the Board of Immigration Appeals (it must be received within 33 days of receiving the denial notice), where a final decision will be made.
A derivative asylum application that is denied cannot be appealed, but the person who made the application may submit a motion to reopen or reconsider the case. A motion to reopen must be accompanied by new documentation that could change the decision. A motion to reconsider, however, needs to show that the denial was based on incorrect application of the law or of INS policy.
Asylum law and the procedures are complex, involved in seeking and getting protection are complex and the process of seeking asylum can leave people confused at a particularly vulnerable time. INS provides comprehensive information on its web site, http://www.ins.usdoj.gov. There are INS district offices throughout the country, and they are usually able to offer information about not-for-profit groups that help immigrants and asylum seekers through the process. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Washington D. C. phone number is (202) 296-5191, can also provide advice. Those who can afford legal counsel would do well to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer.