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In the US, if I relocate from one judicial district to another judicial district in another state — how soon after relocating is it possible to file a lawsuit in a federal district court?

(I plan to sue the federal government over a citizenship application being processed beyond the time frame set by the federal law)

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  • Who says you have to live in the district in the first place? I live in Australia, if I wanted (and had standing) to sue the US Government I would sue in the district that suited me.
    – Dale M
    Mar 4 at 20:05
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    Several immigration lawyers in the US told me that I have to sue in the district where I reside. I don't know what the case is if I live in a camper van, which is legal. I am not sure they were right.
    – rapt
    Mar 4 at 20:11
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    @DaleM in this case the statute requires the action to be brought "in the district in which the applicant resides" (see law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1447#b). Since the action in question concerns an application for naturalization, and someone who resides outside the United States is not eligible for naturalization, the question of those who do not reside in a US judicial district is not relevant.
    – phoog
    Mar 5 at 13:30
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You mention

Several immigration lawyers in the US told me that I have to sue in the district where I reside.

And you ask

how soon after relocating is it possible to file a lawsuit in a federal district court?

You can sue as soon as you can credibly assert that you reside in the new district. If you live in a camper van, this might be somewhat more difficult to establish, but that is probably a topic for a separate question.

However, in order to be naturalized, you must meet the requirements in 8 USC 1427, which says in part that the applicant must have resided

within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the application for at least three months.

This implies that if you move to another state and another USCIS district after submitting your application that you must file another application (there may be a provision for this case that allows you to move after applying, but if so, I haven't found it).

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  • Thanks. For the case that I specified in OP (i.e., I relocate to an address in a new district) — can you mention where the rule you specified appears?
    – rapt
    Mar 5 at 1:31
  • @rapt the rule that says you have to sue where you reside is in 8 USC 1447(b). There is no specific definition of "reside," so the plain-language meaning applies, subject to any precedent decisions from the supreme court or the relevant court of appeals. Basically it works like this: your complaint includes a statement that you reside in the district, and if the respondent doesn't challenge it, the action proceeds. If the respondent challenges, you rebut, and the court rules on the matter.
    – phoog
    Mar 5 at 13:24
  • Great. Thank you for the answer.
    – rapt
    Mar 5 at 19:44
  • @The last quote you bring from 8 USC 1427 does not imply "that if you move to another state and another USCIS district after submitting your application that you must file another application". It only says that I had to reside in the state/district in which I submitted the application for at least three months (might be before submitting the application, but it's not clearly specified). Your interpretation is weird and I have never heard anything like this from any immigration lawyer.
    – rapt
    Jun 20 at 21:21

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