If your Adjustment Of Status or AOS application is taking too long to process or if your application is intentionally delayed, you may be eligible to file a mandamus lawsuit. What is a mandamus lawsuit, and how does it work? What types of visa and immigration cases are eligible for a mandamus lawsuit? What is the reasonable time to process a visa application or petition? When is mandamus not applicable?
This article will answer all of these questions and more. If you are experiencing difficulties with your adjustment of status application, contact an immigration lawyer in Austin, Texas, today for help.
What Is A Mandamus Lawsuit?
A mandamus lawsuit is a civil action that seeks to compel the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to decide on an adjustment of status application. These suits are filed in federal court, typically after USCIS failed to act promptly or properly. The purpose of a mandamus lawsuit is to force the agency to do its job. Also, to decide on an adjustment of status application rather than leaving it untouched for extended periods.
Mandamus lawsuits can be used in visa and immigration cases, including adjustment of status applications. To be eligible for a mandamus lawsuit, the adjustment of status application must have been pending before USCIS for more than 180 days without a decision. Or USCIS must have failed to perform a non-discretionary act.
Reasons For Delayed Processing Of I-485 Applications
The adjustment of status process can be lengthy and complex for many applicants, resulting in delays. Some common reasons for these delays include the following:
- USCIS processing backlogs or funding cuts.
- Incomplete application packages.
- Requests for evidence (RFE) from USCIS.
- A criminal record or other issues that require additional review.
- Missing documents or incorrect information on the petition.
- Visa fraud or misrepresentation of facts.
The USCIS scrutinizes the adjustment of status applications very carefully and requires that all applicants meet the requirements for adjustment. As a result, some adjustments of status cases may take much longer than expected or required.
So, suppose you have an adjustment of status application with the USCIS, and you have a criminal record or incomplete documentation. In that case, you may expect your application to take longer to process. However, if you feel that the adjustment of status processing is taking too long, you can seek relief through a mandamus lawsuit.
When Can You File Mandamus Lawsuit?
Mandamus lawsuits can be filed when an applicant believes that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has unreasonably delayed the decision. An adjustment of status is a process by which someone in the United States may apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) or Green Card status.
The USCIS must decide on adjustment applications within a reasonable period. However, if they do not, it may be possible to file a Mandamus lawsuit to get them to act upon your application with greater urgency.
If you have applied for adjustment of status, there are some instances where you might consider filing for a mandamus lawsuit.
- When your waiting period for adjustment of status has exceeded USCIS’s posted processing times, the delay is deemed unreasonable.
- When you have submitted multiple follow-up inquiries or requests for status updates to USCIS but have not received any response from them promptly.
- If your adjustment of status application was approved at one stage but has not been further adjudicated within a reasonable period.
- If the USCIS denied your adjustment of status application and you cannot get an explanation or resolution from the agency despite repeated attempts to contact them regarding the issue.
Before filing a mandamus lawsuit, you must consult with an immigration attorney who can review all available evidence related to your adjustment of status application. This is because mandamus lawsuits are complex and require a thorough analysis of the facts and circumstances surrounding your AOS application. Additionally, the attorney will be able to advise you if there is any other remedy available to help speed up USCIS’s decision-making process.
What Is The Reasonable Time To Process A Visa Application Or Petition?
The law does not define a specific time frame for processing adjustment of status applications or petitions. Generally, the amount of time deemed reasonable depends on various factors, such as the applicant’s location and the case’s complexity. The term reasonable also varies depending on who sits on the bench. One judge may deem a total processing time of one year reasonable, while another may find the same timeframe unreasonable.
In any case, adjustment of status applications should not remain pending before the USCIS for an extended period without any action or decision by the agency. If your AOS application has been pending for more than 180 days without a decision from USCIS, it may be advisable to consider filing a mandamus lawsuit.
Courts in Austin, Texas have held that 180 days is an appropriate amount of time to process your AOS applications in most cases. Suppose it has been pending with USCIS for more than 180 days. In that case, you may be eligible to file a mandamus lawsuit to compel USCIS to decide on your application.
Limitations Of A Mandamus Lawsuit
Mandamus lawsuits are not applicable in all adjustment of status applications. The USCIS decides so the courts cannot compel them to approve or deny a petition if they choose not to act. Here are situations when a mandamus lawsuit is inappropriate.
- When adjustment of status application is pending because USCIS needs to clarify or verify additional information from you.
- When adjustment of status application is denied due to an exercise of discretion by the USCIS.
- When adjustment of status application was improperly filed or without all the necessary documents.
- When adjustment of status application is pending due to security clearance delays or other administrative procedures.
Additionally, mandamus lawsuits cannot be used to challenge discretionary decisions made by USCIS. If you would like to challenge it, you should contact an immigration lawyer in Austin, Texas for assistance. If your adjustment of status application is taking too long to process or is intentionally delayed, a mandamus lawsuit may help you get the decision you need from USCIS. So contact an immigration lawyer today.
The Filing Process
To file a mandamus lawsuit, you must hire an experienced immigration attorney highly knowledgeable in the procedure. It must be filed in the U.S. District Court, where USCIS has jurisdiction over your adjustment of status application. For example, the lawsuit must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The mandamus suit will then be served to USCIS, who has 60 days to respond and explain why it hasn’t decided on your adjustment of status application yet.
Once USCIS responds to the court, a hearing date is set. You or your attorney will have an opportunity to present arguments and evidence before a judge as to why USCIS should decide on your adjustment of status application without further delay. If successful, the judge may order USCIS to render a decision on your adjustment of status within a certain period.
When filing a mandamus lawsuit, it is best to have pieces of evidence ready.
- Copies of adjustment of status application, including all supporting documents.
- Proof that the adjustment of status was filed within a reasonable time frame.
- Documentation and records of all communication efforts between you and USCIS.
- Documents confirming any denial or lack of decision by USCIS on your adjustment of status application.
Suppose your adjustment of status has been pending too long with no response from USCIS. In that case, it is best to speak to an experienced immigration attorney immediately to determine if filing a mandamus lawsuit is the right option for you.
Such lawsuits help compel USCIS to promptly take action on your adjustment of status application or petition. Additionally, they may also result in expedited decisions for the adjustment of status applications.
Can A Mandamus Lawsuit Change The Outcome Of Your Case?
The purpose of mandamus lawsuits is to force USCIS to decide within a reasonable time frame so that you can proceed with processing your adjustment of status application. It will merely compel USCIS to render a decision on your adjustment of status application in an expedited manner.
However, it cannot guarantee a favorable outcome. If the USCIS denies your adjustment of status application, you will still have the right to appeal or file a motion to reconsider.
Let Lincoln-Goldfinch Law Help With Your Application
Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid filing a lawsuit against the government. If your adjustment of status application isn’t processed, hiring an experienced immigration lawyer can help. They can communicate with USCIS directly and provide the necessary evidence required for decision-making.
In addition, they can also offer further advice and assist you in resolving your adjustment of status application as quickly as possible. Speak with an experienced immigration lawyer today to understand if filing a mandamus lawsuit is the best option for you.
By relying on the skills and capability of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, you can be assured that your adjustment of status application will be handled by experienced immigration lawyers. They are knowledgeable in all aspects of AOS applications, including mandamus lawsuits. For more information, contact their Austin, Texas office and let them help you.