New USCIS Guidance on Expedite Requests

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New USCIS Guidance on Expedite Requests

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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released expanded guidance on the criteria used for evaluating expedite requests.  In the newly expanded guidance, the agency reiterates that expedite requests are handled on a case-by-case basis and that the decision on whether to expedite is made at the agency’s discretion.  USCIS will consider an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure to timely file the benefit request or timely respond to any requests for additional evidence;
  • Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons;
  • Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States;
  • U.S. government interests (such cases identified as urgent by federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, Equal Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or other public safety or national security interests); or
  • Clear USCIS error.

The new guidance gives more detail than previous guidance about what circumstances might qualify under the above criteria.  For example, for humanitarian requests, the agency gives examples including illness, disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need to travel to obtain medical treatment in a limited amount of time.  For emergencies, the agency gives the example of an urgent need to expedite employment authorization for healthcare workers during a national emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the guidance gives more detail than previously provided, it also makes clear that just because an expedite request meets one or more of the above criteria does not mean that it will result in expedited processing.


Further Reading:

USCIS: How to Make an Expedite Request

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