Motion to Reopen Law and Legal Definition

A motion to reopen is a type of review procedure, which may be used as an alternative to an appeal in various types of cases, and is governed by local laws that vary by jurisdiction. Such a motion may be used to correct an error of law, an error of interpretation, or simply a wrong decision, instead of a lengthy and expensive appeal that may not be the best option for the client. For example, in immigration law, the officials may allow reopening for adjustment, in the exercise of discretion, when certain conditions are met, such as:

  1. the motion to reopen must be timely filed (within 90 days of a final order);
  2. the motion must not be numerically barred;
  3. the motion must not be barred by Matter of Shaar, 21 I. & N. Dec. 541 (BIA 1996), or other procedural grounds (in Shaar, the BIA held that a respondent seeking to reopen deportation proceedings who had failed to depart the U.S. prior to the lapse of a granted period of voluntary departure was ineligible for relief for a five-year period under former INA section 242B(e)(2)(A));
  4. the respondent must present clear and convincing evidence indicating a strong likelihood that the marriage is bona fide; and
  5. the motion must not be opposed by the INS, or INS's opposition must be based solely on Matter of Arthur and Matter of H-A-.