U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) describes the process of applying for citizenship in very simple terms: applications are submitted and processed, after which an applicant receives a naturalization interview and eventually a written notice of the decision confirming or denying eligibility for naturalization. In some unfortunate cases, though, an application may remain in the processing stage for an excessively long period of time, and applicants may receive no notice at all.
Delays in citizenship applications are frustrating and can be costly. If you are facing an unreasonable delay for citizenship in Lombard, you might find it helpful to consult with a dedicated immigration attorney who has experience handling naturalization applications and could file a court action to compel a decision.
Actions to Take When Naturalization Applications are Delayed
Although a lawsuit in federal court may be the most effective way to move a case forward, generally an applicant must exhaust other remedies before filing. Often, the best way to investigate a citizenship delay is by contacting US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), either through physical mail or email or by making an appointment to speak to someone in the closest USCIS field office to Lombard, which is located on Congress Parkway in Chicago.
It may also be helpful to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), since the agency’s background checks frequently provide grounds for delays, particularly for applicants with common last names. Applicants may also reach out to members of Congress or other federal officials. If these actions produce no results, it may be wise to file a petition for mandamus relief or other action in federal court.
Filing a Suit for a Writ of Mandamus
In some situations, a citizenship applicant can file a lawsuit in federal court seeking what is commonly referred to as mandamus relief. A writ of mandamus compels the government to take action and make a decision if the statutory time period or an otherwise unreasonable amount of time has passed for a decision on a citizenship application. However, it does not compel the government to make a favorable decision, only to end the delay.
After an applicant completes a naturalization interview or examination, under 8 U.S. Code §1447(b) gives the applicant the right to apply to a U.S. District Court for a hearing if the government fails to make a determination within the six-month period required by law.
When to File a Court Action
In situations where an applicant has already undergone a naturalization interview, federal law states that USCIS must reach a decision within 120 days, and that the applicant has a right to file suit after that time period passes.
For delays at other stages of the citizenship process, the timing is less clear. Decisions are supposed to be made within a reasonable time period, but there is no set standard for determining when a delay has crossed the line and become unreasonable. An immigration lawyer with a good understanding of how long it takes to process certain types of applications may be able to help ascertain when a delay warrants further action in this regard.
Get Help with Unreasonable Citizenship Delays in Lombard
The news is full of stories about backlogs in citizenship application processing, but that does not mean an applicant who has waited an unreasonable length of time is powerless to take action.
An unreasonable delay for citizenship in Lombard may be handled through administrative inquiries, political methods, or legal action. To learn which option is best for your particular situation, consult an experienced immigration attorney.