Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Does it feel like it’s been forever since you submitted your immigration case to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and you can’t help but have a sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach every time another month goes by without any word about your case? Does your day consist of mindlessly checking your receipt number in the USCIS case status online tool, only to receive the same message over and over again? Apparently, many individuals are experiencing the same feelings of frustration and anxiety caused by the growing recent delays in case adjudications. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, “in FY2018, a staggering 94 percent of all immigration petitions and application form types took longer to process when compared to FY2014.” The implementation of strict immigration policies certainly seems to play a large role in these delays.
All Hope Is Not Lost. You Can Do Something About It!
If you are experiencing minor delays, you might just need to wait it out a little longer. Meanwhile, make sure to keep USCIS or your immigration attorney informed of your most updated contact information so that you receive any notices in a timely manner.
If you really have been waiting forever, and your case is significantly outside the normal processing time for your specific type of case as indicated by USCIS, there might be some options available to possibly speed up the process:
1. InfoPass Appointment: In order to schedule a free appointment to speak to a USCIS immigration officer regarding your case status, go to https://my.uscis.gov/appointment and make an InfoPass appointment at a nearby USCIS office.
2. USCIS Customer Service Line: You can try calling the USCIS customer service line at (800) 375-5283 and ask to get transferred to a higher level of customer service to speak to an officer regarding your issue. The initial representative who takes the call will most likely not be able to help.
3. Ombudsman Office (Case Assistance): If you are unsuccessful with the options above, you may go ahead and apply for assistance with the Ombudsman Office (https://www.dhs.gov/case-assistance).
4. Contact your local Congressman or Congresswoman: You can contact your local Congressman or Congresswoman for assistance. The office usually has dedicated individuals who assist with these types of cases.
Even though there is no guarantee that the methods above will resolve the issue, it can be helpful. Also, make sure to document all your efforts!
If All Fails…
The final option would be to have an immigration attorney file a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court to force the USCIS to take action on your pending immigration case. This does not mean that the court can force USCIS to make a favorable decision on your case. It only means that USCIS will be told to make some type of decision. A Petition for Writ of Mandamus should only be pursued as the last resort, and it will often prompt USCIS to take action. In order to have a strong case, you will need to show that even after exhausting all administrative efforts available, there have been no response or action by USCIS.
*Please note that the information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult with an immigration attorney for advice specifically tailored to your case.*