Whitt Law Offices PLLC
Immigration to the United States


News, Updates and Some of My Thoughts

How to Solve Your Immigration Delay with Mandamus


If you’ve been waiting and waiting for a decision in your immigration case, you are not alone. Recent changes have nearly doubled the processing times for many immigration cases. This means lengthy waits even under normal processing times. But what if your case goes beyond normal processing times?

If your case has gone beyond normal processing times, there are a number of steps you can take to seek resolution. Such as calling the USCIS to place a service request or asking your Congressman to make an inquiry. Sometimes these methods work. These days, steps like this are becoming less effective and you can find your case is still stuck after the inquiries are made.

Are you tired of waiting for a decision in your immigration case?

If you cannot tolerate more weeks and months of waiting, the best way to move your case forward may be through filing a lawsuit in Federal Court. We call these mandamus actions.

Mandamus actions are usually the best way to resolve cases that have gone past normal processing times. They can also be effective in a case when you’ve been interviewed by USCIS but have heard nothing else for months.

Some examples of cases I’ve resolved through mandamus:

  • A United States citizen petitioned for his fiance but USCIS failed to make a decision after months of processing.

  • A permanent resident filed for naturalization after having resided in the United States more than five years, had a successful interview, but USCIS delayed scheduling his oath ceremony for months.

Mandamus will not solve all immigration problems. For example:

  • Mandamus cannot force the immigration services to approve your case. The court can only order the services to make a decision but cannot compel an approval. If your case is not solid, the decision you receive could be a denial.

  • Mandamus cannot solve a problem with a priority date. If your case required a current priority date to be approved, mandamus will not be helpful and could harm your chances.

  • Mandamus far is more complicated in cases involving consular processing of visas due to past court decision which limit jurisdiction over consular officer decisions.

It’s important to start your research on mandamus by meeting with an immigration lawyer. These cases must be prepared and filed properly or face immediate rejection by the court. An immigration lawyer will assess your entire case history and give an opinion on whether mandamus is likely to achieve your goals.

I only bring mandamus actions when a client has a strong, well-prepared case and when forcing a decision will be in the client’s best interest.

You should be prepared to make a significant investment in legal and court fees if you decide to file mandamus. You’ll need to consider the hardships you’ve endured through waiting and the cost of opportunities lost to you because of the government’s delay. While filing may be costly, you may decide it’s better for you than waiting and waiting.