The Board’s deadlines are strict: a Notice of Appeal (EOIR-26) must be received within 30 days of the immigration judge’s decision, and briefs must be received by the date ordered by the briefing schedule.
While the Board might excuse a late brief if a party has a very very good reason, it never excuses a late Notice of Appeal. For this reason, anyone working on a BIA Appeal needs to be aware of the availability of same-day courier services.
There are several law firms and courier services near the BIA’s headquarters who will file Notices of Appeal and Briefs with the BIA the same day. For example, the Immigrant & Refugee Appellate Center, a law firm in Alexandria, Virginia offers this service for a $100 fee. Another service I have used is biahelp.com (which charges the same amount). While $100 seems like a lot of money, this can be an extremely valuable service in a pinch. More than one time I have been hired to file an appeal for a client that was due the very same day. The only way I could do this was to hire a courier.
The Board consistently rejects untimely appeals, even when they’re mailed on the day that they’re due (For example, see the September 5, 2013 unpublished BIA decision after the break). And if you file your appeal late, you haven’t exhausted your appellate issues and thus cannot file a further appeal in the Circuit Court. Late-filing is a common issue leading to a bar complaint against the late-filing attorney in support of Matter of Assaad motions. See Matter of Assaad, 23 I&N Dec. 553 (BIA 2003) (addressing “whether an exception to the 30-day time limit for filing an appeal from a decision of an Immigration Judge can ever be made based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.”). For this reason, it would behoove all practitioners to get to know a same-day filing service in Virginia and add them to your speed dial.