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:
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.
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