Still Waiting For Your Iraqi Contractor SIV? You May Have A Legal Action For Visa Processing Delays

The attorney-authors of this blog are hearing more and more concerns about Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants from Iraq who experience excessive delays in the U.S. government’s processing of their SIV cases. Some SIV applicants have been waiting more than three or four years for the final approval step, stuck in the black hole known as “administrative processing.”

SIV applicants who have been waiting an unacceptably long time for visa processing should know about their potential litigation rights against the U.S. government. In U.S. law, there is a type of legal complaint called a mandamus that can be filed in court against U.S. government agencies when they take too long to do their job, e.g. taking too long to process a visa application.

For SIVs, a few years ago, the U.S. government changed its background check process. Since that change, SIVs have experienced additional delays throughout the entire application process: for instance, many SIV applicants from Iraq have had their visa interviews at the Embassy, have been told the SIVs are approved, but have then been subjected to additional “administrative processing,” which typically refers to more background checks. At this point, for many such SIV applicants, their world seems to come to a standstill, and they hear nothing. The attorney-authors know of cases that have been stuck in this “administrative processing” for more than four years, with no signs of movement.

The attorney-authors believe SIV applicants with such long-pending cases may have good grounds for mandamus litigation against the government.  Sometimes, mandamus actions can be pursued in court by a group of SIV applicants (plaintiffs), with each SIV applicant saving legal fees and costs by sharing such expenses with other plaintiffs in the group.

If you are an SIV applicant who has been stuck in “administrative processing” for three years or more, and are interested in learning more about  potential mandamus rights, please feel free to contact the attorney-authors at or call 202-340-1215.  There is no fee for initial communications with us.

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