What is a Mandamus Lawsuit?

Many clients wonder if they can seek legal assistance and take action when their immigration cases are not being processed by USCIS or the consulate on time. Whether it is a long wait for a petition approval or you have been waiting for a decision on your interview for months, even years, you may have the option to file for a “writ of Mandamus” lawsuit against that government agency under The Mandamus Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

What is a Mandamus Lawsuit?

This type of lawsuit is designed to compel the government agency (USCIS, a consulate, foreign embassy, FBI department, etc.) to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff – in other words, to decide on your pending application. When a strong lawsuit is filed, the results tend to be very promising due to the Federal Court’s ability to oblige USCIS (or any other government agency) to find a resolution to your application within a short period. Keep in mind that a decision will be settled, but it is not guaranteed to be in your favor. Though there is not a precise time to decide when to file for this lawsuit, to have the best results, we strongly encourage clients who have been waiting for over a year and a half outside of general processing times for their results, to file for a mandamus lawsuit.

For those considering suing USCIS, a writ of mandamus could be a viable solution. This legal action can be particularly effective if you are facing unreasonable delays, such as those seen with i-601a lawsuits or 221g white slipcases. A successful mandamus action could significantly accelerate your case processing, especially in instances where USCIS has stalled without explanation.

Filing a lawsuit on your own against USCIS or a government agency may be daunting, however, with the correct legal support, the results can be effective.

Steps to Filing a Lawsuit:

Step 1: Before filing it is important to take preliminary action on your case by contacting your State Government office or Liaison for assistance. Submitting inquiries to the USCIS or consulate are essential step before moving forward with a lawsuit. If no action is taken on your case with these steps, then a lawsuit is next. It’s important to collect proof of these inquiries for additional supporting evidence.

Step 2: Contact the local US attorney in the jurisdiction of your intention to file a lawsuit. If no resolution is found within 30 days, the next step is to file your writ of Mandamus lawsuit with supporting evidence.

Can the Government Retaliate Against You for Filing the Lawsuit?

Many clients are hesitant about the idea of “filing a lawsuit” against any U.S. government agency. They fear that as a result of taking action against the agency, their application will be denied. However, it is the exact opposite of what happens. The reason USCIS unreasonably delays cases for no reason is because no higher authority is overseeing their actions – until a lawsuit is taken place. By filing a lawsuit, a court with jurisdiction over the agency will take a closer look at the client’s case and the agency’s actions to resolve the issue. A lawsuit helps keep the agency’s actions aligned with its duty.

Those affected by USCIS delays must know their rights and the power of a mandamus lawsuit. If you’re contemplating how to file a mandamus against USCIS, consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer can clarify the mandamus lawsuit timeline and cost, helping you make an informed decision. The process can seem intimidating, but with the right guidance, it can be a direct path to getting the attention your case deserves.


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