Visa Stuck in 221(g)? When to Rethink Mandamus Lawsuits

Is your visa stuck in 221(g)? You're not alone, and the idea of suing the consulate might have crossed your mind. Instead of diving headfirst into a lawsuit, we're here to explore four key insights from an experienced immigration lawyer near you that might reshape your approach.

Join us in understanding real-life stories and gaining expert advice from Joshua Goldstein to navigate the twists and turns of 221(g) administrative processing

What is a Mandamus Lawsuit Exactly?

Imagine you're waiting for your visa, but your visa stuck in 221(g), and nothing seems to be happening. A mandamus lawsuit is like a legal nudge – a way to gently push the immigration authorities to move things along. It's not a magic solution, though. 

Think of it more like a tool you can use when your case is really stuck and you've tried everything else. So, if your visa is delayed, and you've been waiting for a long time with no clear reason, a mandamus lawsuit is a way to ask a judge to step in and say, "Hey, let's figure this out." 

Pros and Cons of Mandamus Lawsuits

Wondering what's the deal when you file a Writ of Mandamus lawsuit? Well, here's a simple list of the pros and cons to give you the lowdown.


  • Making Things Happen: Mandamus makes immigration authorities decide on your case.
  • Legal Options: It allows you to challenge unreasonable delays that seem unfair in the visa process.
  • Court Involvement: The court brings in an outside, neutral party to help sort things out.


  • Complex Legal Stuff: You’ll need immigration legal services near you to navigate the process.
  • Not for Everything: It's not right for every visa stuck in 221(g).
  • Winning isn't guaranteed: The court might still say the administrative processing delay is okay.

Is your visa stuck in 221(g)? Learn when to navigate visa delays with Mandamus and explore the pros and cons.

4 Scenarios to Rethink a Mandamus Lawsuit

But here's the catch – it won't work for every visa stuck in 221(g) situation. There are certain cases where it might not be the best choice. Understanding these limits is important before going down the mandamus lawsuit road.

Scenario 1: Visitor Visas Stuck in 221(g)

Using a mandamus lawsuit might not be the best idea for a visa stuck in 221(g), and it's for visiting. Visitor visas (B-1 Temporary Business Visitor or B-2 Tourism Visa) often get denied. Unfortunately, there aren’t many rights for these applications. 

Josh and his team understand that visiting the US is crucial for many. The law firm has filed mandamus lawsuits to resolve delayed F-1 visas, L-1, J-2, and many other types of non-immigrant visas. But visitor visas seem like too thin of a story, and we would typically not take on these types of cases.

Scenario 2: When it’s Too Soon

A mandamus lawsuit might not be the best choice for solving 221(g) administrative processing delays when it’s too soon. You can file a lawsuit as your legal move to speed things up. It's all about convincing a judge that the delay is unreasonable.

A recent example: Someone reached out to Josh’s Boston and Los Angeles immigration firm because there were big delays at Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in processing her fiancé’s paperwork. The delay stretched over several months, and she was understandably upset about being without her fiancé for nine months. 

Josh emphasizes that it's usually better to wait at least a year after filing your paperwork before considering mandamus. Many people approach Goldstein Immigration Lawyers after their visa applications have been delayed for several years.

Some wait for five years or two years for visa approval. Waiting only nine months is less than what most applications take to process.

Scenario 3: When There’s a Serious Problem

The third situation where a mandamus lawsuit to resolve a visa stuck in 221(g) doesn't make sense is when there's a big problem with your immigration case. This could suggest something is seriously wrong, and it's unclear if you're eligible for visa approval.

Let's look at this recent example: Someone from India went for an H-1B visa interview in Mumbai at the US consulate, thinking it would be approved. However, the consular officer put the visa on hold for administrative processing because they were worried about the employer's criminal record.

The company had some money problems, and the owner had done something wrong in the past. Now, there are doubts about whether the person applying for the visa is really allowed to do so. In situations like this, using a mandamus lawsuit won't help get the visa approved if it doesn't truly deserve approval.

Scenario 4: Consider Perhaps to Wait it Out

You might want to hold off on considering a mandamus lawsuit, even if your visa is caught up in administrative processing if you believe you can wait it out. 

Let’s break it down for you with an example: Many people go for their interviews and find themselves stuck in administrative processing. But after a few weeks or months, they eventually get their visas.

Now, if you think you can wait a few months to get your visa, we’d suggest holding off on hiring a Boston immigration lawyer for a mandamus lawsuit. It's probably better for you to wait it out, even though we understand it can be painfully long. Josh Goldstein believes waiting could be a wiser move in this situation.

221(g) Visa Stuck? When to Rethink Mandamus Lawsuits

When Mandamus Works for Visas Stuck in 221(g)

We don't think you should rush to federal court to sue unless you have a strong case. 

Most people do have a strong case. Most people who contact us are frustrated. They're in administrative processing for no reason at all. They're just told they're in administrative processing. 

Their cases deserve approval, and filing a Writ of Mandamus is their best course of action. They're eligible for the visa, and there's no genuine reason they're not approved. It's just this mysterious delay. In those situations, a mandamus lawsuit works extremely well.

Best Time to Consider a Writ of Mandamus Lawsuit

Those who seek assistance with mandamus lawsuits have endured extensive waits. Recently, the immigration law firm spoke with a woman from Houston. Her husband, stationed in Afghanistan, had been waiting for a visa for a staggering five years. 

Consider hiring a California mandamus lawsuit attorney if you've been waiting for administrative processing for five, two, or even just one year.

Share Your Case for Expert Assistance!

In conclusion, a mandamus lawsuit might not be your visa superhero. A visa attorney near you can help at a reasonable cost

Our immigration experts have helped thousands of people, and their families worldwide and across the United States get their visas stuck in 221(g) and out of administrative processing. 

Our goal is to make this complex journey a bit clearer for you with the help of our knowledge of all immigration matters. Your visa success story might just be a click away! 

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