Murthy Success Story: Mandamus Against DOS Results in Visa Issuance

We at the Murthy Law Firm are proud to report that we were able to obtain a successful resolution of an extended immigrant visa delay at a U.S. consulate by filing a writ of mandamus action for our client. Prior to our intervention, the applicant had been waiting for nearly two years for the U.S. Consulate to issue his immigrant visa. Despite the applicant’s best efforts to resolve the administrative processing delay on his own, it was only after the Murthy Law Firm helped the client by filing a federal writ of mandamus lawsuit that the immigrant visa was issued. The following article explains this unique use of the mandamus option. [All case information related to our clients is kept in the strictest confidence. Names or other identifying details are never shared without client consent. The individual we represented in the case consented to the publication of the information contained here. We thank him for allowing us to share his story with our MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.]

Initial Immigrant Visa Denial Required Filing Visa Waiver Application

Prior to contacting the Murthy Law Firm, the individual in this case received a denial of his immigrant (permanent) visa application by a U.S. consulate. He was told that he needed to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility in order to be eligible for the immigrant visa approval. Accordingly, he filed for and obtained approval of the appropriate immigrant visa waiver.

Extensive Delay of Second Visa Application after Waiver Approval

The individual reapplied for his immigrant visa, thinking that the process would go smoothly the second time. Unfortunately, the filing of the second application was just the beginning of a long delay. The immigrant visa application was placed in administrative processing, and it remained there, without a decision, for almost two years. After making all reasonable efforts to resolve the delay on his own, the applicant consulted with attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm. We decided that extraordinary legal measures were required to end the delay.

Writ of Mandamus: A Powerful Tool

As regular readers of MurthyDotCom are aware, writs of mandamus have been successful in resolving a variety of unreasonably delayed cases at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As noted in our MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Mandamus Lawsuits for H1B, I-140, and Other Delays (10.Apr.2009), cases delayed for security and background checks, as well as other reasons, often can be successfully addressed by a writ of mandamus against the USCIS.

Writ of Mandamus Rarely Used Against DOS

While writs of mandamus have been successful in cases against the USCIS for a number of years, filing such a legal action against the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to resolve a visa processing delay at a U.S. embassy or consulate has been rare. This is because U.S. consular officers working overseas are often afforded protection against lawsuits under the doctrine of consular non-reviewability, which is akin to diplomatic immunity. Even considering this obstacle and the novel nature of the type of lawsuit, the attorneys at Murthy Law Firm believed that it was appropriate under the facts of this case, and considering the delay that had already occurred.

Murthy Law Firm’s Mandamus Results in Issuance of Visa

Shortly after the Murthy legal team filed the writ of mandamus against the DOS, the U.S. consulate completed its review of the immigrant visa application and its administrative processing. Even before the deadline for the government to respond to our writ, our client received his passport containing the requested immigrant visa. The immigrant visa allowed him to travel to the United States, entering as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). Needless to say, our client was relieved and overjoyed to receive his long awaited immigrant visa.


We at the Murthy Law Firm wish to express our appreciation to those working at U.S. embassies and consulates – the U.S. consular officers and other staff work hard, often in difficult or dangerous conditions. The need for care in the processing of visa applications is understood, but delays should not stretch into endless months or even years. This summary illustrates to MurthyDotCom readers the creative ways that writs of mandamus potentially can be used to resolve delays in a variety of nonimmigrant and immigrant cases, which now include delayed visas overseas. Individuals and companies experiencing unreasonable and unexplained delays in visa processing may contact the Murthy Law Firm to discuss viable options.

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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.