Understanding Delays in Immigration Cases and When to Sue

immigration case

How long you have to wait on an immigration case before you can file a lawsuit against the government for unreasonable delays. 

How Long Do You Have to Wait? 

If you’re wondering about delays in your immigration case and when it becomes reasonable to sue the government, you’re not alone. Many immigrants face long waits for their applications to be processed, and it can be frustrating. Here’s what you need to know: 

Your Rights and Government Duty 

The government has a duty to adjudicate immigration cases within a reasonable time. If your case is unreasonably delayed, you have the right to take action, including filing a lawsuit. 

Steps to Take Before Suing 

1. Request and Review Records: Ensure your case was properly filed and prepared. Sometimes delays are due to issues in the submitted records. 

2. File Inquiries and Expedite Requests: Submit requests directly to immigration services and your congressional representative, explaining why the delay is unreasonable and how it’s causing you hardship. 

3. Prepare for a Mandamus Action: If the above steps don’t work, prepare to file a federal lawsuit under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) or the Mandamus Act to compel the government to act on your case. 

How Long is Too Long? 

The answer varies depending on the type of case and the court. For instance: 

- Asylum Cases:  More than four years could be considered unreasonable. 

- Citizenship Cases: More than two years might be too long. 

- Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status: Delays of two to three years can be excessive. 

Consult a Lawyer 

Different courts and judges may interpret what constitutes an "unreasonable delay" differently. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who understands how delays are handled in your federal district.  Feel free to call our Oakland immigration attorneys at 510-488-1020 to book a consult today!