Filing an immigration case can get hectic. An applicant and their lawyer will be on a whole spiral gathering documents, drafting forms, and getting information to support the case. Once the application has been submitted, however, the process will be in immigration's hands. All the client can do at this point is wait.
During this time, the applicant should keep themselves updated on the progress of their case. They can check with their lawyers to learn the case status and communicate with them to identify if there’s an issue with the case that’s preventing adjudication.
But if the case has not been adjudicated past the processing time, it’s time to take action.
What To Do When the Immigration Case Is Taking Too Long
When an immigration case faces severe delays, an applicant should go through the appropriate channels to nudge immigration to speed up the process. These are three things they can do by process hierarchy.
Submit a Service Request
A service request, also called a case inquiry, is a formal request that asks immigration to provide a status update on a case. One can only file it if their case has not been adjudicated outside normal processing times.
The applicant can send a service request with the help of their lawyer on the USCIS website.
File a Complaint with the Ombudsman
If immigration does not act on the service request, the applicant can seek support from the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman oversees the immigration process and addresses egregious errors like delayed cases. Applicants can usually bring their case to the Ombudsman if the processing time has exceeded two years.
File a Mandamus Lawsuit
A last resort for applicants is to file a mandamus lawsuit, which is a means to compel the government to perform a duty owed to them. It’s equal to suing the U.S. government for its failure to process an immigration case within normal processing times.
However, a mandamus lawsuit can cost an applicant a lot of money. So the other reliefs should be undertaken first before suing the government.
An immigration case will naturally take a while to adjudicate, especially with the volume of cases being sent to immigration daily. If the processing is still within the normal timeframe, then the best thing an applicant can do is to be patient and let immigration do its job.