Updated Guidance on Expedite Requests Related to Travel

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Updated Guidance on Expedite Requests Related to Travel

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With processing times for most applications at U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) often stretching into years, sometimes it is necessary to request expedited processing on a case.  USCIS publishes detailed guidance on their website on how to submit an expedite request and the criteria they consider in determining whether to grant the request.

Recently, USCIS updated this guidance to provide additional clarity on the process and requirements for expedite requests, particularly as it relates to expedited processing of travel documents (Form I-131) such as advance parole. USCIS explains that they may expedite processing when an applicant has a “critical” need to travel outside the U.S. for an unplanned event, but also in cases where an applicant has to travel outside the U.S. for a planned event and due to processing delays USCIS has not yet issued the travel document by the planned departure date. In any case, USCIS requires some type of documentation to support the expedite request.

Here are a few examples of situations that USCIS provides that illustrate when expedited processing could be warranted:

  • Death or illness of a family member or close friend.
  • Urgent medical treatment
  • Professional commitment
  • Wedding or other personal commitment
  • Academic related commitment

As far as when USCIS will expedite a travel document for a planned commitment, USCIS explains that they will consider whether the applicant timely filed the Form I-131 and/or responded to subsequent requests for evidence. It’s unclear how USCIS defines timely, and that will likely depend on the specific circumstances of the situation, but the example they provide gives some insight into how they might analyze a situation. USCIS explains they may expedite a case where the applicant applied for the travel document 5 months ago when they learned of the event, and the event is now happening in 45 days.

The good news is that despite processing times that take significantly longer than one would expect, expediting a case is possible. Our attorneys are ready to walk you through the process and advocate on your behalf, so please reach out if we can be of assistance!

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