Murthy Success Story: Mandamus Resolves I-485 Delayed Over Five Years

Many MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers are among those who have to wait for years to obtain their permanent residence (or “green cards”) due to their priority dates and/or immigrant visa numbers not being current. There are other individuals who also find themselves waiting, often for years, due to administrative delays. When all reasonable efforts fail to obtain a decision in a case, it may be helpful to file a writ of mandamus. The Murthy Law Firm’s recent success in such a case is summarized here for the benefit of our readers. The moral of the story is that one must be willing to consider many options to obtain a successful result. We thank our client in this case for allowing us to share this story. The Murthy Law Firm never reveals client details without explicit permission.

Background: Over Five Years of Waiting for I-485 Approval

The Murthy Law Firm did not prepare the green card application in this case. The individual came to us having experienced years of delay after filing the application for adjustment of status (I-485). The applicant had waited more than five years for adjudication of his case. He had diligently followed up on his case, and had complied with all U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requests for information. His application had been transferred between USCIS offices several times, without any decision on the application. The applicant had traveled by plane to attend his I-485 interview, as it was scheduled at a USCIS office located more than five hundred miles from his home. He flew to that USCIS office a second time, to attend an InfoPass appointment he had made in order to follow up on his case. The only reason provided to the applicant for the delay in the processing of the I-485, in response to his numerous inquiries to the USCIS, was that the case was under extended security review.

Mandamus Uncovers USCIS Problem: File Lost

The Murthy Law Firm recommended filing a writ of mandamus to force the USCIS to make a decision on this case. After filing the writ of mandamus, attorneys in our firm contacted the attorneys representing the USCIS. These discussions revealed that the Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to this matter, along with personnel from the local USCIS office, had discovered that our client’s “A” file had been lost. It was agreed that, in order to resolve the case, the file would have to be reconstructed, and the client would have to be interviewed by the USCIS again. We wish to note that, while there are times when the USCIS loses files, this is not a particularly common occurrence.

Murthy Helps Client to Obtain Green Card Approval

Attorneys from the Murthy Law Firm continued to communicate with the local USCIS office, as well as the Assistant U.S. Attorney to recreate our client’s file with the copies he retained. We provided updated documentation of his continued eligibility for approval from documents in the client’s records. We worked with the USCIS to schedule a second I-485 interview and biometrics appointment days before our client was scheduled to travel overseas. Within five days of completing the interview, USCIS approved the case, and issued an I-551 green card approval stamp – in our client’s passport. This stamp is temporary evidence of permanent resident status, available in limited circumstances. It is valid as proof of permanent resident status for all purposes, including work and travel, before the actual, physical card is received by mail.

Potential Causes of Delays / Mandamus Lawsuits Helpful

In this instance, our client’s file somehow was lost. As mentioned above, despite the large number of cases filed and processed by the USCIS, fortunately, it is uncommon for a file to be lost entirely. Individuals whose cases seem to be taking longer than expected should not panic or assume that their files have been lost. There are many other potential causes for extended delay. The Murthy Law Firm has been brought in on cases delayed due to the assignment of multiple “A” numbers or files, mistaken identities, and multiple filings, which can create confusion.

As noted in our NewsBrief, Mandamus Lawsuits for H1B, I-140, and Other Delays (10.Apr.2009), resolution may be achieved in cases 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 writs of mandamus.

Thanks to Client’s Generosity in Sharing Story

We appreciate our client’s willingness to allow us to impart his story to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers, as an example of one way that a writ of mandamus can be used to solve the underlying problems that may be delaying a particular case. Readers who have long-delayed cases that are not moving forward despite follow-up efforts, may wish to speak with an attorney in our Special Projects Department regarding the writ of mandamus option.


We at Murthy Law Firm are proud to share another successful result with our readers. We want to express our appreciation for the hard work and cooperation of the USCIS officers and attorneys who labored to resolve the delay in this case, once the source of the delay was identified. While a writ of mandamus is not generally the first tool to be used in trying to obtain action in a delayed case, it can be effective to get to the bottom of the problem, after other reasonable efforts have proven fruitless.

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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.