What is a Mandamus Complaint and Who Qualifies?

The mandamus statute states that it is: “An action to compel an officer of the United States to perform his duty. The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any action in the nature of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the United States or agency thereof to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff.”In a small percentage of cases, USCIS is delaying by years the granting or denying of Citizenship and Green Card applications. If you are in this situation, you may consider filing a petition for mandamus relief with a federal district court. By filing for mandamus relief, you are asking the court to approve or deny your application.

The complaint is filed with the federal district court that has jurisdiction over the director of the local USCIS office that has held your application. USCIS will have 60 days to respond to the complaint. The court will generally send the case back to USCIS and instruct them that they must take action within a certain period of time.

USCIS claims that FBI background checks are to blame for the excessive delays, but whatever the case may be, by law, the immigration service is required to adjudicate cases within a “reasonable time.”

Ideally, an applicant should prove that they have exhausted all other options, and shown that they have taken actions to move the case forward. Such actions include emails, faxes, and letters to agencies such as USCIS and the FBI, to Senators or Congressmen, and proof of scheduling infopass appointments, inquiring about the status of your case.

If you are a naturalization applicant, and you have already had your initial interview, and 120 days have passed, a 1447(B) complaint may be a better option.

What is a 1447(b) Complaint and Who Qualifies?

8 USC 1447(b) is a statute which specifically provides for court review of a stalled naturalization application when 120 days have passed since the naturalization interview. The court will provide one of two forms or relief: i) an decision of the naturalization application in the court and by the court, or ii) remand the case to USCIS for immediate decision.

When may I Apply for Relief in the form of Mandamus or 1447(b)?

For mandamus complaints, if your case is well beyond the normal processing time, and you have taken actions to move your case forward to no avail, your case may be ripe for filing. As for 1447(b), such a complaint can be filed immediately after 120 days pass without having to demonstrate anything else.

What are the Advantages and Limitations of Mandamus and 1447(b) Complaints?

Uncertainty is obviously a source of great anxiety. When an applicant takes action to file a mandamus or 1447(b) complaint at the appropriate time, they can finally anticipate that their case will be resolved within a certain period of time.

The drawback to filing a complaint to move your naturalization or green card application case forward is that it may lead the immigration service to be vindictive and find some way of denying your case. When an individual does file such a complaint, he or she should be fairly certain that USCIS will not be able to find a reason to deny their case, such as a past criminal history or any past documentary submissions with discrepancies which may be construed as fraudulent.

What is the Attorney’s Role in a Writ of Mandamus or 1447(b) Case?

An attorney is trained to prepare a properly formatted complaint outlining the cause of action, relief sought, and basis for relief. You must serve the proper parties, and should understand procedural rules to pursue either a writ of mandamus complaint or a 1447(b) complaint. An attorney who has successfully pursued complaints in the form of writ of mandamus of 1447(b) will ensure that your case is properly filed with the district court.

Contact Us

To discuss Mandamus and 1447(b) complaints with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group, feel free to contact us by emailor call us at 510-742-5887.


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Writ of Mandamus Testimonial

“Shah is a great lawyer. I have and will recommend him to anyone who comes my way looking for a lawyer. My case was more then complicated, and I am sure that is what everybody thinks about their case. I actually met Shah, through Google when I was looking for a lawyer who would offer a free consultation. He actually read my email and responded to me within 30 minutes and offered me information over the phone and invited for a free in person consultation. He was patient, focused and involved in my situation. Meeting me for the first time, he introduced me to his all of his staff. He took his time to listen to my story from day 1 till I met him. I had a mandamus situation, where my citizenship was pending for almost a year and a half. He not only gave me hope that he will win my case, he also showed me previous examples of Mandamus cases that he done before. After my mandamus, came filing for my husband’s AOS, which was no less complicated. He was all the more confident after my mandamus came in favor. Shah responded to all my emails within hours and was available to talk to me, whenever I needed to be assured. Most of all, I have never met anybody who actually called me when they were not in the country. The day I got my citizenship, and my certificate had errors. I called his office, and expressed my concern to his staff and they told me they will try to have Shah call me, and he actually called me from Malaysia. My family and I were so impressed and thankful. To me and my family, he is a very honest, humble and caring human being, and as a lawyer he is more than qualified, along with being personally involved in all his cases. He is not like many lawyers who listen to you and say yes, take your money and pass your paperwork to their staff. He is involved from beginning to the end. His staff is just great, very friendly and caring. -Sabreen

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