Murthy Success Story: Delayed I-485s Approved after Writ of Mandamus Filed

The Murthy Law Firm is proud to report that we were recently able to resolve another family’s long-delayed applications for adjustment of status (I-485) cases by using a writ of mandamus. This particular family had been waiting for two and a half years, without any apparent action on their cases. They made fruitless efforts to contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and watched in frustration when their priority date moved from current to retrogressed. The Murthy Law Firm utilized a writ of mandamus lawsuit to force the USCIS to take action on these cases, and resume processing through to approvals. The Murthy Law Firm was not involved in the initial preparation of these cases. We thank our clients for providing permission for us to share their story. All information is kept confidential, and details are never shared without written permission from the client.

Background on Writs of Mandamus

As regular MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers know, writs of mandamus have been utilized successfully to resolve a wide variety of delayed or improperly processed nonimmigrant and immigrant cases. As noted in our April 10, 2009 article entitled, Mandamus Lawsuits for H1B, I-140, and Other Delays, cases that may be resolved include those that have been delayed for FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and USCIS security or background checks. Delays for other reasons, such as USCIS errors, may also be resolved through filing writs of mandamus.

The need for writs of mandamus in I-485 cases has been greatly reduced due to resolution of many of the previous delays related to background checks. However, it remains as a valuable tool in appropriate cases.

Causes of Delays in Processing I-485 Adjustment Cases

Undue delays in case processing can potentially be resolved through writs of mandamus. Such delays can be caused by multiple Alien numbers or files, mistaken identities, and multiple I-140s and I-485s. One example of a delay was discussed in our May 1, 2009 article, Murthy Success Story: A Case of Mistaken Identity.

The reason for a delay is not always clear. In the case of these Murthy Law Firm clients, the primary I-485 applicant was the beneficiary of two I-140 employer petitions. One of the I-140s had been filed in 2002; the other was filed in 2006. At the time at issue, both I-140 petitions had been approved. The only reason given by the USCIS for the extended delay in processing the I-485s was, what the USCIS identified as, extended security reviews.

When an I-485 application has been pending for a long time, an applicant in a retrogressed category may have short periods of time when the cutoff date for his or her priority date becomes current. But, if the processing of the case is further delayed, the individual misses the opportunity for the I-485 approval while the immigrant visa number is available, based upon the person’s priority date.

Filing Mandamus Leads to Prompt Action by USCIS

After filing the writ of mandamus, the Murthy Law Firm attorneys contacted the attorney representing the USCIS, attempting to avoid additional, unnecessary delays. We wanted the case to proceed while the priority date was current. Our firm explained that the family needed to have their biometrics taken and, if desired by the USCIS, they would also need I-485 interviews completed. At that time, it was unclear whether the priority date would remain current in the upcoming months. It would remain current through the end of December 2009, but it was impossible to predict, with any certainty, if the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin would show that the family’s priority date would remain current during future months. Thanks to the fast action on the part of the USCIS that followed our filing of the writ of mandamus, the Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the writ of mandamus cases, along with personnel from the local USCIS office, arranged for this family’s biometrics appointments and I-485 interviews just days before the 2009 Christmas holiday. Within two weeks of completing these appointments, the USCIS issued the I-485 approval notices for all of the family’s I-485 applications.

Availability of Visa Number Required for I-485 Approval

It is necessary to have an available, or “current,” visa number in order to obtain approval of an I-485 application. The writ of mandamus is not appropriate for the many I-485 applications that are delayed, often for years, due to the lack of available visa numbers.


We at the Murthy Law Firm are proud to share another positive development from the work we do each day to help people obtain the status they need in order to work and live in the United States. We also appreciate the hard work and cooperation of the USCIS officers and attorneys who endeavor to resolve the delays in such cases on an expedited basis. This success story is shared with MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers to help them consider the various options available when a case has been delayed for lengthy periods of time. Filing a writ of mandamus can be one more avenue toward solving the underlying delay.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.