If you have submitted your case to Immigration for processing and it seems like they are taking forever to give a decision, you might be able to sue them in Federal Court. It is possible to file a lawsuit against Immigration if they have unreasonably delayed your petition, are withholding action on your petition or are not moving forward with your petition in a reasonable time.

Essentially, the Federal Court will command Immigration to process your application. In some cases, the Court will also order Immigration to pay for reasonable attorneys fees. Because Immigration does not want to pay, they resolve in months cases that have been pending for years.

In order to file such a lawsuit, the immigration attorney will need to demonstrate the long delay. It is important to save copies of all applications and correspondence with Immigration. The foreign national will also need to comply with all of Immigration’s requests (such as fingerprint appointments) in a reasonable time.

Before filing a lawsuit, an immigration attorney can follow up on the status of the case frequently and take other steps to obtain a decision. It is common for these files to become lost, misplaced or assigned to an officer who already has too many files. Foreign nationals sometimes fall out of status because of these delays or are not able to address important issues in their case because of these unreasonable delays. For example, a foreign national may have a difficult time proving that a former marriage to a U.S. citizen was valid if Immigration requests the evidence three years after the divorce.

Foreign nationals who believe their case with Immigration is taking too long should consult with an immigration attorney. Estimated processing times at Immigration are quite long and there is no reason why a foreign national should have to wait even longer. An immigration attorney is in the best position to advise foreign nationals about how to handle the application efficiently and whether they should sue Immigration.