Have You Been Waiting too Long for your Green Card?

Have You Been Waiting too Long for your Green Card?


While everyone should expect that green card processing times can take a great deal of time, the truth is some applications can fall through the cracks. If you’ve waited longer than a year for an answer, your application may be one of them.

When this happens, you have the option to file what’s called a Mandamus suit. These suits compel the government to act on a matter that they have a legal duty to make a decision on but have failed to do so. 

The suit cannot force a favorable decision. It can only force the government to go ahead and make a yes or no decision in your case. It is used to get a stalled case moving again.

Why do cases get delayed? 

There are all sorts of reasons. Sometimes an immigration officer flags a case. Sometimes there are conflicts when you change application types. Sometimes the USCIS is dubious about a marriage and is hoping it will go ahead and fall apart before they have to make a decision. Sometimes, some people just get lost in the shuffle of a backlogged immigration proceeding.

Does filing a Mandamus action mean having to go to court?

Rarely. USCIS almost never wants to get all the way into litigation. A suit just forces them to go ahead and pay attention to your case after ignoring it for a great deal of time. It puts a case that has fallen off their radar back onto their radar, forcing them to make it a priority.

Will USCIS be harsher with my application as a result of the lawsuit?

No. There is no retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The Mandamus action does not demand money from the US Government, it just demands action. In many cases USCIS treats the lawsuit as yet another administrative matter they have to deal with rather than taking the lawsuit personally. In fact, there have been instances where USCIS has directed immigrants to launch the lawsuit themselves. 

How can I launch a Mandamus action?

You’ll need an immigration attorney’s help to get the job done right. Note that you’re not going to call USCIS and threaten to sue. They do not care and that will not get the case moving. Instead, you’re just going to go to an attorney who will review whether it is appropriate to launch the action and will do so. You’ll also want to sit and talk to the attorney about your case to ensure that there aren’t any hidden pitfalls that you’re about to run into before you start trying to force the government’s hand.

Are you having trouble with your immigration case? Contact John Hykel law. We can help.

See also:

Why An Immigration Attorney is Your Best Bet

Challenging Credible Fear Interview and Bond Hearing Delays

How Does a Dismissed Criminal Case Impact a Citizenship Application?


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