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Immigration Applications: What to Do When There’s a Delay


Immigration is both a time-sensitive and challenging process. If you’ve been working on your immigration application but the process has been delayed or even stalled completely, it’s important to reach out for legal assistance. Here’s what you need to know.

Immigrating can be an incredible experience. Whether you want to move to be closer to family members or you’re starting a new job, one of the most exciting things about immigrating is getting to be part of a new place and a new culture. Unfortunately, the legal side of immigration can be daunting. After submitting your paperwork, you may notice that it takes a while for your immigration documents to be processed. While some delays are normal, significant and long-term delays are something you should be proactive about dealing with. If you’ve noticed a delay in the processing time of your immigration application, you might feel concerned or even confused, but an immigration attorney can look into your case and evaluate your situation. If the processing time of your application is more than one year outside of the normal processing time, you need to contact an attorney immediately. If you suspect that your application may be stalled, it’s important to reach out.

Reasons for a Delay

Immigration applications can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, when the immigration office has to process large amounts of paperwork and applications, it can sometimes become overwhelmed with applications. During periods of backlog, applicants may find that they wait longer for their paperwork to be processed. Sometimes there can be other extenuating factors that cause a delay. Sometimes a file may become lost in the system. While safety precautions are taken to ensure that each application is carefully processed, sometimes applications are lost. A security check could also cause a delay in the status of an application. If the immigration office reached out and asked for more information but did not receive it from you, this could further cause a delay.

Attorney Assistance

If your application has been stalled due to problems with a security check or because you were not able to respond to the immigration office’s additional questions, an attorney may be able to help reopen the case. This can help get your case back on track and ensure that your file starts being processed again in a timely manner. If, however, the file was lost in the office or not processed due to a backlog, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit. If you’re suffering from damages to the stall, such as financial strain due to not being able to work in the country, your attorney will be able to guide you through the legal steps you’ll need to take next.

Next Steps

Your lawyer will use a commence a Mandamus action in Federal Court to help you. This is a type of action that makes the government agency do their job. A Mandamus could be used for any type of stall. It helps ensure that the government begins processing your application and helping you in the ways they are legally required to do. For example, if you have a stalled Naturalization or Citizenship application, there is a statute for Federal Court to intervene if a decision has failed to be made within 120 days of the examination. In addition to forcing the government to act on your application, the action, if successful, can entitle you to legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).

No matter what type of immigration delay or problem you’re experiencing, don’t wait to reach out for the help and the guidance you need to begin moving forward with the immigration process.