Can you sue a U.S. Embassy if your Green Card or Visa is Delayed?

Do you have a visa that has been pending for an unreasonable period at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad, or perhaps that has been stuck in administrative processing for years with no decision? If so, you may be interested to learn of possible solutions to resolve your case matter.

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about this important topic, including a discussion about the writ of mandamus lawsuit, and how it can help compel a decision in certain cases where there has been an unreasonable delay.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Mandamus Lawsuits for Immigration Delays

A mandamus lawsuit also known as a writ of mandamus, is filed in federal court to compel a government body to fulfill their legal duty, for instance by issuing a decision on a visa application or immigration benefit, that has been unreasonably delayed by the agency.

The purpose of the mandamus lawsuit is to hold the government accountable where they have failed to act, as required by U.S. immigration law, to make a decision on an application. In cases where the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of State (DOS) has failed to fulfill its duty, the mandamus lawsuit may be appropriate to help move a case forward to its final decision.

Unfortunately, the immigration process can become extremely uncertain for individuals whose cases have been stuck without justification or explanation from official government agencies. Unreasonable delays can occur for a number of reasons. The most common include delays associated with internal security checks relating to criminal convictions, security risks, prior visa denials, and other admissibility issues. Additionally, cases may be administratively delayed for several years pending background checks, security clearances, and supervisory review.

At the Consular stage, cases in 221(g) administrative processing require a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) to determine whether an applicant is eligible for the requested visa. In such a case, it may take several years before the administrative processing can be completed.

When is it appropriate to file a Mandamus Lawsuit?

The mandamus lawsuit is an applicant’s last-ditch effort to obtain a decision where the visa application or immigration benefit has been unreasonably delayed by the government agency. It means the applicant has exhausted all his or her options to resolve the matter, including submitting inquiries with the government agency reviewing the petition, and/or requesting the assistance of a U.S. congressman.

Cases where a mandamus lawsuit may be appropriate are those where the government has failed to act for more than 18 months, and where there are time sensitive issues or compelling hardships at stake which require the government to make an immediate decision (such as cases involving an urgent medical need, unreasonable delays caused by the Department of Labor for labor certification, age out issues, DV lottery program expiration, etc.).

In these circumstances, it is important for the applicant to work alongside an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate his or her case and determine if the writ of mandamus may be an effective remedy. In some cases, it may not be appropriate to file a writ of mandamus, for instance where the visa classification you are seeking is facing substantial backlogs across the board (e.g. asylum cases and EB-5 investment petitions). The applicant’s country of nationality and the Consulate or Embassy involved, are additional factors which are important to understanding whether the government’s delay is unreasonable.

Can I be reimbursed my attorney’s fees in a Mandamus Lawsuit?

Yes. Upon filing a motion, the court may award attorney’s fees to a successful litigant in a writ of mandamus lawsuit.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, we invite you to contact our office to schedule a consultation and evaluate your case.

The Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick has handled writs for various types of applications facing long delays, including those for F-1 international students, H-1B workers, EB-1A adjustment of status applicants, K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants, and L-1A intracompany transferees placed in 221(g) administrative processing, among others.

Our attorney’s will work with you to determine whether a writ of mandamus lawsuit may resolve your case and discuss potential options to obtain a timely decision on your application.

Contact Us. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-569-1768 or call 619-819-9204.

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