USCIS processing delays have hit an all-time high and so have our frustration levels.
The delays have gotten so bad in fact that you may have considered extreme options, like suing the government (like hundreds of people did last year about the EAD card delay) or leaving the country. But have you ever heard of expediting your request?
A request to expedite a USCIS petition is not a new thing, but USCIS did release new guidance on it last month, to explain their most current way of determining whether a case warrants expedited treatment. The update speaks to the ways that expedite requests may be considered, regarding from non-profit organizations, or federal, state, or local agencies, and gives examples of situations in which an expedited request is appropriate.
Does My Case Qualify for an Expedited Request?
USCIS does not respond to expedited requests for just any type of case. There are very specific standards that USCIS officers look at when considering expedited requests:
- Will there be severe financial loss to an individual or company if urgent action is not taken?
- Additionally USCIS may consider whether a failure to expedite would result in a loss of critical public benefits or services.
- Is there an emergency or an urgent humanitarian reason to grant the request?
- Examples may include, but are not limited to, illness, disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need to travel to obtain (or give*) medical treatment in a limited amount of time.
- *If you are a healthcare worker waiting on your employment authorization renewal, and your EAD will expire in 30 days or less, you don't have to file an expedite request. Instead call 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) for the USCIS Contact Center and be prepared to provide evidence of your profession or current employment as a healthcare worker.
- Was the request made by a non-profit organization whose reasoning is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States?
- For this type of request to be granted, the non-profit must show the need to expedite the case based on the beneficiary's specific role within the nonprofit in furthering cultural or social interests (as opposed to the organization's role in furthering social or cultural interests).
- Is there a specified government interest?
- For expedite requests made by a federal agency, there must be an immediate and substantive national security interest, or other public safety interest.
- For expedite requests from the Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, or another federal, state, or local government agency, the expedite request must be made by a senior-level official of that agency. Or;
- Was there clear USCIS error?
Submitting an expedited request that meets the above criteria does not guarantee that USCIS will grant it. USCIS generally does not consider expedite requests for applications and petitions where premium processing service is available. An exception to this is a nonprofit petitioner which meets the requirements above may request that the benefit it seeks be expedited without a fee, even if premium processing is available for that benefit.
Expedited processing for noncitizens in removal proceedings or with a removal order are coordinated between USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
You can find more information about filing an expedite request on USCIS' guidance page.
If you have questions about expediting your USCIS petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.