Declaratory Relief

During the often-lengthy immigration process, it is easy to get confused by the many different words and terms that you will hear.  One such term is “Declaratory relief,” also commonly referred to as a “Declaratory judgment.”  This is essentially a judgement by a court that rules on a particular question so as to resolve any pending uncertainty. In other words, “Declaratory relief” can bring clarity to a situation.  Here are some additional facts you should know about declaratory relief.

Defining Declaratory Relief

Although the term can create some confusion – especially to those who are stressed out about their immigration status –  the idea behind “declaratory relief” is actually quite simple. Declaratory relief refers to the judgment of a court to decide a legal question.  For example, a person may want to have it declared that they are entitled to a certain immigration benefit.  Simply put, the court is making a decision about the status of a specific person or event.

The Benefits of Declaratory Relief

Why should someone seek out Declaratory relief? What benefits does it procure? In immigration cases, a Declaratory judgment may help clarify your legal rights.  There may be some uncertainty or confusion, or even a disagreement between an immigrant and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.  In these cases, a Declaratory judgment can resolve any pending issues.  And this Declaratory judgment can potentially lead to the granting of a person’s requested immigration benefit.

What You Need to Know Before Seeking Declaratory Relief

While it might seem like this kind of judgment might be a great way to “move the process along” and provide you with an immediate solution to your problem, the truth is that the legal world is complicated.


Is your case appropriate for Declaratory relief? Will it help in determining your immigration status? Many people are frustrated with the slow movement of their case, but that fact alone does not necessarily mean that your case is appropriate for Declaratory Relief (but it may potentially be appropriate for a Mandamus).


Request for Declaratory relief typically include matters where a legal issue must be resolved by a federal court.  But federal court is not the place to start.  Rather, before filing a federal lawsuit asking for Declaratory relief, all attempts should be made to resolve this matter with the appropriate government agency.

Who Needs Declaratory Relief?

If someone’s status is “up in the air” – which is not a legal term – then it is important to seek out a court judgment that will provide clarity to the situation. In immigration cases, this kind of Declaratory judgment can potentially rule on a person’s immigration status as determined by the events of the past and whether legal requirements have been met.

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