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Why Do Mandamus Lawsuits Over Immigration Delays Work?

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When you file an immigration petition, you expect a decision within a certain time. But sometimes, the government takes much longer than expected to make a decision.

If your case is taking a long time, you might wonder if there's anything you can do about it. The answer is yes! You can file a mandamus lawsuit.

Keep reading to learn more about:

  • writ of mandamus and how it works
  • why these lawsuits are successful in many cases
  • how to win your case


What Is a Mandamus Lawsuit and How Does It Work?

A mandamus lawsuit is a type of legal action that can be used to compel the government to take a certain action.

In the context of immigration, mandamus lawsuits are often used to force the government to issue a decision on an immigration petition that has been pending for an unusually long time.

The first step in filing a mandamus lawsuit is to send what's called a "notice of intent" to the agency refusing to take action on your case. This notice must be received by the agency within 60 days of when you first attempted to get them to take action.

After the notice of intent is sent, the agency has 30 days to respond.

In most cases, the agency will either take the desired action or provide an explanation for the substantial processing delays. If the agency does not respond or takes no action after being served with a notice of intent, then you can file a mandamus lawsuit against them in federal court.

For a mandamus lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must show that:

  • they have a clear legal right for what they are seeking
  • the defendant has a clear duty to take the requested action
  • there is no other adequate remedy available


Why Are Mandamus Lawsuits Effective?

Mandamus lawsuits are an effective way to force USCIS to adjudicate applications and petitions. It provides individuals with a remedy that is not otherwise available.

Mandamus actions can be filed without first exhausting administrative remedies such as filing a complaint with USCIS or requesting expedited processing.

Additionally, unlike other types of lawsuits where damages are awarded as relief, mandamus actions seek injunctive relief. That means the goal is not to win money damages. Instead, to compel USCIS to take action on an application or petition.

Can I Win My Mandamus Lawsuit?

Yes! These lawsuits are often successful because they put pressure on the government to take action on pending cases. By filing a mandamus lawsuit, you are sending a clear message that you will not just sit around and wait forever for a decision to be made on your case.

Additionally, courts will often rule in favor of plaintiffs in mandamus lawsuits if it is clear that the government is not using its resources efficiently. For example, if there are hundreds of cases pending for more than two years without any decision being made, it would be very difficult for the government to argue that it is using its resources efficiently.

Best of all, you can win a mandamus lawsuit if you seek legal assistance from an immigration lawyer.


Why Should I Seek Professional Legal Assistance

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While you can technically file the lawsuit on your own, it's highly recommended that you seek out an immigration attorney to help with the process. Here's why.


An experienced attorney will know the ins and outs of administrative processing. They can navigate the system more efficiently than someone unfamiliar with the immigration application process. 

Furthermore, they will likely have a network of contacts that they can tap into to get information or speed up the process.

Knowledge of the Law

Filing a mandamus lawsuit is a complex legal process. There are deadlines to be met and specific forms that must be filed. If even one of these deadlines is missed or one of the forms is not properly filled out, your case could be thrown out entirely. 

An attorney specializing in immigration visas and law will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to make sure that all forms and documents are filled out correctly and filed promptly.


When you're dealing with a sensitive issue like immigration, it's easy to let emotions get in the way. This may cloud your judgment and prevent you from making sound decisions. 

An attorney will be able to look at your immigration case objectively. They can make recommendations based on what they believe is in your best interest—not based on emotion.


Connect With Our Immigration Lawyers

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Many clients seek legal assistance from our immigration lawyers here at because of our successes with our mandamus action against the USCIS and other government agencies over the past couple of weeks.

We have filed lawsuits for the following people:

  • those who have been waiting for their wives to come from overseas for too long
  • those who have been waiting for their citizenship interview for too long
  • those who have applied for asylum and have waited too long
  • Muslims whose cases were delayed due to an illegal CARRP program

Here are some of our successful cases:

Case 1: A client from Russia who's been waiting for his citizenship interview for a year and a half

His case had just languished. He had tried getting the CIS ombudsman and the CIS office to get involved and work on his case. He didn’t receive any information or updates as to when his interview would be.  

What We Did: We filed suit about a month ago, and he had his interview yesterday. Everything went well; his case was approved on the spot after about a 20-minute interview.

Case 2: A fellow from Virginia who has been waiting for his wife to come from Pakistan for almost 3 or 4 years.

What We Did: Once we filed suit, the client was notified that they would have to reappear for an interview. They were also asked to submit some additional information. We submitted all that. This case is now underway.

Some of the things we love to do are to get involved in litigation – to really help people move forward. People shouldn't have to go through this. Unfortunately, when you're dealing with a bureaucracy as big as the federal government, that's how it works.

So if you have any concerns or questions about whether a lawsuit might be able to help you with your case, be sure to give us a call at 3143257978, or you can email us at [email protected]. We'll help you with anything related to immigration and visa applications.


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