After submitting all the required paperwork and carefully filling out every necessary form, waiting for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to finish processing your citizenship application can be agonizing. Unfortunately, long processing times are fairly common, and applicants may have to wait months or even years before receiving a final decision.
That being said, there are some situations where a delay persists for so long that even the normal backlog USCIS deals with cannot explain it. If you believe you have experienced an unreasonable delay for citizenship in Washington DC, a dedicated immigration attorney could explain how to potentially address that problem and, once retained, work on your behalf to get an official verdict in a timely fashion.
According to the Check Case Processing Times tool, the Washington, DC Field Office generally takes between 11.5 and 18.5 months to fully process a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. However, there are numerous agencies and several layered steps involved in processing a citizenship application, and a snag anywhere along the line could drag things out for months or years longer than normal.
Sometimes, the problem stems from something simple, like paperwork being misplaced inside a USCIS office or an unusual volume of similar applications being submitted at once. Other times, delays can result from issues with the application itself, or problems during the background check. Whatever causes a citizenship application in Washington DC to be unreasonable delayed, knowledgeable legal counsel could help identify and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Citizenship applicants have different options for remedying unreasonable delays depending on the stage of the process they are in. If they are still early in the process, their best bet may be to contact USCIS directly through their Contact Center with assistance from a legal representative. If that goes nowhere, it may be necessary to file a writ of mandamus lawsuit that, if successful, would compel USCIS to continue processing the application immediately and without further delay.
Conversely, if a citizenship applicant has already completed the interview stage of the process, USCIS has a maximum of 120 days under federal law to pass along a final decision on their application. If there is an unreasonable delay with a citizenship application beyond this deadline, the immigrant in Washington DC may undertake proceedings in federal court to have their case formally transferred from USCIS to that court’s jurisdiction.
Then, the court itself may grant or deny citizenship based on the prospective immigrant’s application, rather than USCIS. Alternatively, the court may remand the case to USCIS again, but accompanied by an order for the agency to avoid any further delays.
Nobody deserves to wait for months on end to learn if their citizenship application has been approved without any communication from USCIS. Fortunately, if you are subject to an unreasonable delay for citizenship in Washington DC, legal options may be available.
A qualified immigration attorney could discuss the possibilities available under your unique circumstances during a private consultation. Schedule yours by calling today.