H.) CITIZENSHIP & NATURALIZATION

Writ of Mandamus can be used for Delays in Adjudication of Applications for Citizenship

Applicants for naturalization who experience long delays by USCIS in adjudicating their case may have the option to file a Writ of Mandamus. An applicant for citizenship may use 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b) to seek relief in federal district court if the USCIS does not act on their application within 120 days of his or her citizenship interview examination.

Section 1447(b) provides in full:

“If there is a failure to make a determination under section 1446 of this title before the end of the 120-day period after the date on which the examination is conducted under such section, the applicant may apply to the United States district court for the district in which the applicant resides for a hearing on the matter. Such court has jurisdiction over the matter and may either determine the matter or remand the matter, with appropriate instructions, to the [USCIS] to determine the matter.”

Thus, the five general elements of this statutory remedy for naturalization applicants are:

  1. USCIS must have failed to make a decision on the naturalization application;
  2. The delay in decision-making by USCIS must have lasted for at least 120 days after the “examination”;
  3. The suit must be filed in the federal district court where the applicant resides;
  4. The court then acquires jurisdiction over the naturalization application; and
  5. The court may either decide the naturalization application or may remand the case with instructions to USCIS.

If the USCIS has delayed making a decision on your citizenship application for over 120 days from the interview date, you can file a Writ of Mandamus in the Federal Court where the applicant resides to force the USCIS to make a final decision. An immigration lawyer that has reviewed your particular circumstances will recommend the most suitable course of action for you.