Writ of Mandamus

When Your Application / Petition Is Taking Too Long

The immigration process can be very stressful, and in recent years, it has become even more common for these applications to drag on for months or even years!

You paid the processing fees and submitted the requested documents. In turn, the government must make a decision: it has an affirmative obligation to make that decision within a “reasonable” time. These obligations and the judicial power to enforce these obligations are spelled out in the law (28 U.S.C. § 1361 and in the Administrative Procedures Act at 5 U.S.C. §§ 702, 706).

Although it does take time for an immigration petition or application to be approved, there are times when even people who have properly filed their applications can experience these unexplained delays with very little information from USCIS or the consulate as to the status of their application. In some cases, USCIS will even allow an application to remain pending indefinitely.

USCIS itself acknowledges that delays at the agency have increased in recent years. In March 2022, they issued a public statement describing the steps it planned to take to address backlogs.

For some applicants, these unreasonable delays can mean that a person outside the United States must wait to joint their family, including children or loved ones needing care, or a person inside the country may have to live in legal limbo for months or years while waiting for an outcome, unable to move forward with their lives. For others, delays at the agency mean waiting on work authorization or other paperwork that may require little more than a perfunctory signature, but that prevent the person from working and participating fully in society.

It’s not fair! BUT – there is something you can do!

If you have an immigration case that has been pending for over a year and you’re tired of waiting, the Scott Law Firm can help! We can file a “mandamus” action in court to compel USCIS to act where there has been an unreasonable delay that causes harm to the applicant.

What is a Writ of Mandamus?

A “Writ” is an order issued by a court. It is a judicial remedy.

“Mandamus” derives from Latin, meaning “we command”.

Thus, a writ of mandamus is an order issued by a court that commands some action.

In an immigration context, a Writ of Mandamus is a lawsuit requesting the United States Federal District Court to compel the government to perform a duty owed to you: Take action on the pending application or petition. The mandamus is not a guarantee of the approval of your immigration application, but it will ensure that you have a fast decision.

How Long Do I Need To Wait?

There is no law or strict rule on how long a person must wait before pursuing a mandamus, but we suggest that you consider such an action if your application or petition has been pending for more than 12 – 24 months or is time sensitive.


It is no secret that part of being an American is the frustration with the bureaucratic inefficiencies, from the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Internal Revenue Service, that arise with the government. A writ of mandamus can address these bureaucratic problems and allow an immigrant to obtain a decision on their application or petition in a shorter amount of time.

While it cannot guarantee the approval or your immigration petition or application, if you have a favorable case that is only not being approved because of administrative bureaucratic delays, a writ of mandamus can be a critical document that allows approval of your immigration applications.

If you have been experiencing an unreasonable delay with your immigration application or petition, contact the Scott Law Firm today to see how we can assist!

Immigration Case Results

Aggressive Defense that Wins
  • Asylum granted to victim of gang violence Immigration
  • Cancellation of removal granted Immigration
  • Adjustment of status Immigration
  • Granted cancellation of removal and release from ICE custody Immigration
  • Asylum granted from Mexico after persecution based on sexual orientation Immigration
  • Mexican National granted cancellation of removal and allowed to return home to family. Immigration
  • Client from Bangladesh granted asylum after fleeing violence in his country Immigration
  • Asylum El Salvador client granted asylum after being threatened by gang Members
  • Immigration Judge grants a readjustment of status Immigration
  • Mexican national granted Cancellation of Removal in the New Orleans Immigration Court. Immigration

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