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What are My Options if USCIS has not Decided My Citizenship or Green Card application?

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

You have filled out the application, paid a lot of money in filing fees and perhaps in attorney fees. You have also waited a long time and jumped through a lot of hoops. Now you have waited for a long time for USCIS to approve your application and still nothing.


The law gives USCIS a reasonable about of time to adjudicate applications. However, the law does not give them indefinite time. After a reasonable period of time, you (or your attorney) can take steps to force USCIS to decide your application.


Step 1: Reach out to USCIS to ask for an update about your application. You can do this yourself your have your immigration attorney do it.

Step 2: If you have reached out a couple of times and either heard nothing, or USCIS has still not decided your application, it is time to hire an attorney who can sue USCIS. To sue USCIS, the attorney must be admitted to practice in U.S. District Court and understand the process for filing these types of lawsuits. (You can do it yourself, but given their complexity, it is better to hire an attorney.)


Step 3: The attorney can reach out and threaten to sue USCIS. Sometimes, the attorney can also reach out to the local U.S. Attorney's Office and try to get a decision without suing. (This step is optional. If enough time has passed, you can go immediately to Step 4.)


Step 4: If USCIS has still not responded or not decided your application, it is time to sue. The lawsuit is called a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus. This is basically a request to a U.S. District Judge for an order requiring USCIS to decide your application. To be clear, a Writ of Mandamus doesn't require USCIS to grant your application. It just requires to USCIS to do its job and make a decision on your application.


If your citizenship or green card application is delayed, please give me a call today for a free consultation about your case.



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