The timeline for a Ninth Circuit case involves multiple stages of filing paperwork and arguing your case. But many of these stages can take a long time, from many weeks to construct a really strong brief to many months spent waiting for the Ninth Circuit to move your appeal to the next stage.
On average, it takes at least two years for an appeal to make it through the entire Ninth Circuit Court appeals process. The Ninth Circuit does not have a specific timeline or hard deadline for making a final decision, which makes it hard to give a clear time frame for how long your immigration case may take.
Timeline for an Appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court
Here are the general steps in a Ninth Circuit Court appeal and a time frame for how long each may take:
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Filing Your Notice or Petition
After your immigration petition is denied, you can file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). But if BIA upholds the denial, you have 30 days to file a Petition for Review to the Ninth Circuit Court.
If you want to appeal a court decision in your immigration case, you also have 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal to the court that ruled on your case. In criminal cases, you would only have 14 days from the date of the ruling.
You can also petition the court to grant you a 30-day extension to have more time to file your petition or notice.
Submitting the Brief
You must submit an appeal brief that outlines which decision you want to appeal, why you believe the decision is wrong, and the facts of your case that support your appeal. No matter if you file an informal appeal on your own or your immigration lawyer files a formal brief on your behalf, the process of gathering evidence and writing a strong brief can take many weeks.
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Preparing the Oral Argument
Like creating the brief, the oral argument can take many weeks to fully develop. Your lawyer will get a court date for the oral argument at least 10 weeks before it’s scheduled.
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Presenting the Oral Argument
In civil cases or appeals regarding administrative agency decisions, you and your legal team could wait 12 to 20 months from the date of filing your Notice of Appeal before you reach the oral argument stage. If you file your briefing in a timely manner, you may only wait nine to 12 months.
For criminal cases, you may only be waiting four to five months from the completion of the briefing stage.
Getting the Decision
After you or your lawyer present your oral argument, you may wait another three months to a full year before you receive the decision. However, the court doesn’t have a deadline to make decisions on any type of case.
The Ninth District receives 10,000 to 13,000 appeals sent per year, according to the Ninth Circuit’s 2020 report. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported that, in 2021, BIA appeals made up a huge majority of administrative agency decision appeals, representing 85% in nearly every circuit court’s caseload for that case type. In addition, Arizona’s district court alone saw almost 2,800 immigrant defendant appeals in 2021.
The court must consider each case it takes on very carefully to make sure that everyone gets a fair shot.
Requesting a Rehearing
If the Ninth Circuit upholds the decision that you wanted to appeal, you have 45 days from their decision to submit a request for a rehearing. That means you can have the same small panel of judges review your case again.
Though it’s very rarely granted, you can also request an en banc rehearing, where a larger panel of judges reviews your case. Decisions from en banc appeals typically take a few months to be made.
Whether the Ninth Circuit has reversed or affirmed the decision you appealed, the court will write its final decision, and in 45 days, that decision becomes final. At this time, the deportation process would likely begin if it hasn’t already.
Get Help Navigating the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Process
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we know how stressful and scary the appeals process is. We can guide you through each stage, helping you complete all the necessary tasks in a timely manner to try to speed up the process. We will also set realistic expectations that we can use to explore all legal options for helping you stay in the country.
Contact our office today to schedule a strategic session with one of our immigration attorneys and learn more about how we can get you through the appeals process as efficiently as possible.