“I filed my visa application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over a year ago, but despite repeated inquiries, I haven’t received a decision! What do I do?”
Whenever we are asked this question at the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, we always analyze the case to determine whether a Writ of Mandamus should be filed. A Writ of Mandamus is a lawsuit that is brought in federal court to compel an employee, officer or agency of the United States, in this case USCIS, to act. In order to prevail, we must show:
(1) USCIS has a clear duty to perform in your case;
(2) That this duty is owed to you; and,
(3) That there are no other forms of relief available to you. ‘
We must also clearly demonstrate that USCIS’ delay to perform in your case is unreasonable.
The Administrative Procedures Act mandates that when an agency is given a task by Congress then it has a duty to complete the task within a reasonable time. There are several different factors that can be used to determine whether USCIS’ delay is unreasonable, but the easiest way is to check their website to determine what their standard processing time is. If your case falls within the standard processing time you need to give USCIS some more time to make a decision. If your case has fallen outside of the standard processing time, however, and you still haven’t received a decision, then hiring ILOLA to file a Writ of Mandamus may be your best option.
Note that when a Writ of Mandamus is filed, it just asks the judge to tell USCIS to make a decision and to do it quickly. In our experience, Writs of Mandamus rarely even go before a judge. Often, the filing of the lawsuit will prompt USCIS to render a decision on the case!
If your case is taking too long, contact our office now at (213) 375-4084 to discuss whether a Writ of Mandamus may be appropriate in your situation.