One of the most common “best practices” questions about BIA appeals is whether the BIA wants a specific color of paper for its forms.

Is Colored Paper Required?

Although the answer is “no,” this isn’t a silly question.

The BIA’s practice manual outlines the suggested color for its Forms in Chapter 12 of the BIA practice manual, which breaks down the suggested colors as follows:

EOIR-26 (Notice of Appeal / Immigration Judge Decision)     blue
EOIR-26A (Appeal Fee Waiver Request)     tan
EOIR-27 (Notice of Appearance)     yellow
EOIR-29 (Notice of Appeal / DHS decision)     pink
EOIR-33/BIA(Change of Address)     pink

However, the Board also says in the same section that it “no longer requires forms to be filed on paper of a specific color.”

All submissions other than forms must be on white paper, and forms themselves should be either on white paper or the colors listed in the chart above.

So, Should You Use Colored Paper for Forms?

In my opinion, yes, you should use colored paper for forms if you can.

I’ve read most of the Board’s unpublished decisions in the last 10 years and all of its published decisions, and I have never seen a case where the Board denied an appeal because a person used the wrong color of paper.

However, there are serious reasons to still consider using colored paper.

For example, using the correct color of paper immediately tells the clerk who opens your package what it is that you’ve filed. A piece of blue paper can only be a notice of appeal.  A piece of yellow paper can only be an entry of appearance.

It is not uncommon or out of the ordinary for the BIA to misfile or mislabel a pleading that it receives.  To at least try to prevent that, every notice of appeal that I file is blue, and every entry of appearance is yellow.

If the clerk opens a package with tan paper, they know I’m asking for a fee waiver and they are that much less likely to accidentally categorize it as a motion or a change of address form.

This might not matter in every case, but if I can do anything to make the BIA operate more efficiently (and thus get to actually deciding my cases faster), I certainly will.

If you are looking for colored paper for your appeal, you can get it online, although I still haven’t found a good source for tan paper.