Most of the time, the government takes many months if not years to decide the millions of immigration applications filed each year. Sometimes, an applicant may urgently need a faster decision because of special circumstances. In that case, a request to expedite an application might be appropriate. However, most expedited processing requests are rejected because the criteria is quite high. In our firm's experience, the circumstances have to be extremely urgent and directly dependent on the immigration application.
Here's what you need to know to request expedited review of your application:
- Requests for expedited processing are decided on a case by case basis. There are no magic reasons that will get your request approved.
- Your reason for expedited processing must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Emergencies and humanitarian reasons (family, medical, occupational)
- Non-profit organizations whose request helps further cultural/social interest
- US government national interest
- USCIS error
- Severe monetary loss to a person (given that the loss was not the applicant's fault)
- You must have filed your application in a timely manner.
- You must be prepared to provide strong proof that your reasons meet one or more of the expedited processing criteria.
- Premium processing service must be unavailable for the application.
To make the request, you must speak with a live USCIS agent, either via phone or via the USCIS's online chat. Be sure you have a copy of your receipt notice when you contact the agent and be prepared for a long hold time before you will be connected to an agent.
To connect by phone, call USCIS Contact Center: 1-800-375-5283 (Monday-Friday between 8AM-8PM Eastern Time) and say “InfoPass.”
To connect by online chat, viisit the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/how-to-make-an-expedite-request . Scroll down a bit on the page, this will allow the “Need Help? Ask Emma” button to appear on the upper right side of the screen (if on desktop) or down towards the bottom (if on mobile). Click the “Need Help? Ask Emma” button and type “Expedite Request” and follow the rest of the prompts.
The agent will take your request and explain what to expect next. Typically, the USCIS can take 30 days to review the expedite request. During that time, you might receive a request for further information or documents to prove the reasons for the request. In most cases, you will not receive any response on the request or you will receive an email notice that the request was denied.
In rare cases, the expedite request will be approved; however, it could take 45 days to receive a decision on your application. Generally, the USCIS will send you an email stating ““…Your documents submitted meet the requirements for expedited processing of your application. You should receive a decision or notice of further action within 45 days….”
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.