If you have applied for your green card or citizenship, you might be anxiously awaiting a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Unfortunately, you might have to wait a long time, as slow processing times and delays are typical of the agency. However, sometimes delays become unreasonable.

If you have been waiting for months with no update on your application’s progress, contact a local immigration attorney. A Groveland immigration “delay” lawyer could review your situation to try and determine the reason for the holdup. If there is no clear answer, our attorneys could bring legal action to force USCIS to adjudicate your application.

Common Reasons for Delayed Application Processing

An application for a green card or citizenship requires extensive supporting documentation. You probably spent considerable time compiling all the evidence the government requires to support your application. Depending on your country of origin, verifying all the documentation you submitted could be challenging for the USCIS and lead to processing delays.

Sometimes, USCIS reviews an application and decides it does not contain enough information. In that case, the applicant will receive a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). The RFE is a request for more information, typically additional documents. Depending on the information requested, obtaining and forwarding the additional evidence could take considerable time.

Files may get lost or buried on someone’s desk for extended periods. If you notice no activity after the expected processive time, it is worth making an inquiry. A Groveland immigration delay attorney could email or call on your behalf if you are uncomfortable doing so.

Steps to Take When Processing is Unusually Slow

USCIS estimates processing times for various applications on its website. If your case is taking longer than estimated, you could submit an electronic inquiry. If you are not happy with the result, there are other ways to speed up the process.

Asking a Senator or Member of Congress to inquire on your behalf could be an effective strategy. Congressional staffers often have contacts within the USCIS who can provide accurate information. Knowing that an elected official has an interest in a particular case could spur the reviewing officer to work more quickly or at least explain the delay.

Always note every action you take regarding your application. Keep copies of all emails, electronic inquiries, and written correspondence. If you receive an RFE, note the date you received it and the date you sent your response. A Groveland attorney can use this information to prove you have done all you could to speed up your immigration application if you must ask a federal court to intervene about an unreasonable delay.

Legal Remedy When the Delay is Unreasonable

If the time to process your application has extended beyond the estimates without a reasonable explanation for the delay, you could ask a court to issue a Writ of Mandamus. The Writ directs USCIS to make a decision on your application or explain why it cannot do so.

The court cannot direct USCIS to approve your application. Some applicants are afraid to seek a Writ of Mandamus, believing that USCIS is more likely to reject their application if they take the agency to court. Groveland immigration attorneys who have brought Mandamus actions have not seen any indication that USCIS retaliates against people who seek these Writs over unreasonable delays.

In many cases, a federal court never hears the Writ of Mandamus lawsuit. Once the government attorney receives the paperwork initiating the action, they typically contact USCIS for an update on the file. In many cases, the contact from the government attorney prods the reviewing officer to complete their work and issue a decision.

Contact a Groveland Attorney if Your Immigration Application is Delayed

Processing an immigration application is labor-intensive, and most applicants understand it could take considerable time. Processing times of several years are typical. However, if nothing happens on your application for months, or if USCIS is not transparent about the reason for the slow processing, consult a local attorney. A Groveland immigration “delay” lawyer could give you wise advice about the best way to handle your situation. Call the Bennett Law Center today.