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Interviewed for Naturalization But Still Waiting? Consider Filing a Mandamus Suit - February 24, 2011

Many applications for naturalization remain undecided by USCIS even after the applicant has been interviewed. This may happen because USCIS cannot obtain the needed FBI name check or simply because of administrative inefficiencies.

However, a special provision of the immigration laws permits many such applicants to file a "mandamus" action in federal district court to compel USCIS to act. The case must be pending for at least 120 days after the interview before an action can be filed.

Filing a naturalization mandamus action is relatively easy, inexpensive, and achieves results - it gets the case decided. That's because U.S. Attorneys don't like them and judges don't like them. U.S. Attorneys don't like to appear before a judge on a matter than should have been decided administratively; judges consider them a waste of value judicial resources.

Typically, upon service of the law suit, the U.S. Attorney contacts the local USCIS attorney in charge of naturalization applications and requests that the case be adjudicated. The USCIS counsel directs an adjudicator to review the case and make a decision. Mandamus actions usually result in the case being decided in two to six months. While mandamus does not guarantee a favorable decision on the naturalization application, it does compel that a decision be made.

If you've had your naturalization interview and more than 120 days have passed without a decision, contact our firm to discuss how a mandamus action can help you.