When Your Citizenship Application is Delayed
You have carefully filed your immigration case, perhaps for citizenship (N-400), a green card (I-485), or another type of application, but the process has been pending for some time. You may have received a bio-metrics notice or perhaps even attended an interview, but the officer has told you a decision has not yet been made. Months, perhaps years pass and still no response.
You have exhausted all remedies, scheduled Infopass appointments, made several calls, filed service requests, yet received no meaningful response as to why your cased has been significantly delayed. You may have even reached out to your senator for assistance on the inquiry of your case. Yet, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) tell you they are unable to determine a time when your matter will be reviewed. Your case is now well outside of the normal processing time. Many people wait for years and year for green cards, or for citizenship with no end in sight. I myself have experienced this in own green card and citizenship journey and had to file a writ of mandamus to expedite my application after a delay of six years! You can read about my own experience in filing a writ of mandamus in an article I wrote earlier: An Immigrant Lawyer’s Story.
This delay can have consequences at your job, ability to travel or vote. In some cases, a writ of mandamus may be a remedy for this unreasonable delay.
Writ of Mandamus
Mandamus in Latin means “we command.” It is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a superior court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do (or forbear from doing) some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do (or refrain from doing), and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of a statutory duty.
A mandmus action in federal district court can compel the USCIS to make a decision. The Mandamus Act, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1361 says, in its entirety:
- Action to compel an officer of the United States to perform his duty.
The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any action in the nature of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the United States or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff.
The Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq., provides a basis for a lawsuit if a government agency such as USCIS fails to act within a reasonable time on a task. For delayed cases where a decision has not been made within a reasonable time, the APA allows you the right to file a lawsuit, also known as a writ of mandamus.
Mo Syed has expertise in Federal Court litigation for delayed citizenship and immigration petitions. He has had several recent successes on delayed N-400 (Application for Naturalization) matters. One of his recent successes was for a pending N-400 for an Iranian citizen who had received his green card through sponsorship by his U.S. citizen spouse. His application had been pending for more than two and a half years with no end in sight. He got him his green card in a few weeks after he filed the writ of mandamus in federal court.
Another case was for a Chinese citizen whose N-400 application had been delayed for more than a year and a half. He had received his green card through an EB-1B employment-based visa. This delay negatively affected his opportunities at work and travel. His case was approved within a few weeks after Mo Syed filed the writ of mandamus.
Mo Syed’s most recent success was for an N-400 application for an Iranian citizen. She had received her green card through sponsorship by her U.S. citizen husband. Her application had been pending for nearly two years before filing a writ of mandamus. Her N400 was approved in just days after filing the writ of mandamus.
My Clients Say…
- “I had a great experience with Mr. Syed in expediting my N-400 naturalization application. Mohammad was always available for consultation and very quick in response of any inquiries. My case was pending outside normal procedures, but I found him very knowledgeable in this matter.”
- “Great job for expediting my citizenship N400. Very knowledgeable and responsive on my case. Straight with the answers. Highly recommended.”
Determining if Action is Needed
A good guideline to check the processing time for your case is through the USCIS website. If you feel that your case falls outside the normal processing time, you should call my office to see if a writ of mandamus can help you or a loved one.