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When the immigration office takes too long to respond

Immigration offices throughout Germany are often overworked and understaffed. Applications are often not processed for months, which can cause a myriad of problems for anyone waiting on a permit to be able to work or study or if their current permit is expiring.

German law has a mechanism for dealing with this: the “Untätigkeitsklage”. This is a form of court action against the competent authority for failure to act. Its requirements are set out in

§ 75 VwGO.


In short: If an application has not been decided on without adequate justification within a reasonable period, a court action can be filed. In immigration law, three months is generally considered a reasonable period.

I’ve waited three months – what can I do?

If three months have passed without any response from the immigration authorities, going to court with an “Untätigkeitsklage” may be a good option. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that a court case itself can take a long time. If faced with undue hardship, it may be possible to apply for emergency legal protection, but this is something you should discuss with a lawyer first.

Is there a quicker way?

Having a lawyer contact the immigration authorities on your behalf can speed up the process. If your lawyer notifies the immigration office that they plan to file an “Untätigkeitsklage", your file may be bumped higher up the caseworker’s list. This may be the most cost-effective option.

Book an online consultation to discuss whether legal representation may speed up your case.

The above article is for informational purposes only and makes to claim to completeness. It should not be considered legal information. Legal advice is only provided as part of an in-depth consultation on your specific situation.

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