How (and When) to Ask USCIS to Expedite Your Case

USCIS wait times are long, and you may be asking: “Is there is any way to speed up this process?” Yes, in certain circumstances, there is!

Expedite requests for various USCIS forms can be made by anyone with a compelling reason that meets the specific USCIS requirements. It can be difficult to get USCIS to approve an expedite request, but common reasons for making a request include emergency family matters, such as needing your travel permit quickly in order to visit a sick family member, or financial matters, such as needing your work visa due to severe loss of income. Note that this financial need must exceed the general and expected need to be able to work in order to support oneself.

Eligibility  

You may be eligible to have your application expedited if any of the following are true:

  • A clear error was made by USCIS when processing your application, such as incorrect name, DOB, receipt number, priority date, visa category, etc.; 
  • You have an urgent and documented humanitarian reason (e.g. travel to visit sick family member);
  • There has been or will be severe loss to person or company as a result of your pending application (e.g. your company is being acquired and you need your green card to sit on the board of directors);
  • There are compelling US government interests, such as urgent cases for the Department of Defense or DHS, or other public safety or national security interests involved in your case.

Please note certain cases are not eligible for expedited processing, including application types that have an option for premium processing (which can be requested for an additional fee upon filing).

Process

If you meet one or more of the eligibility requirements listed above, you or your attorney will need to call the USCIS customer support number at 1 (800) 375-2853. This can be done at any point in case processing, as long as you have already received your receipt notice(s) which contain your receipt number(s). In some cases, you may need to wait until biometrics requirements have been completed before you can expedite your case.

During your call, you or your attorney will try to speak to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 officer in order to explain your situation and submit your request. In most cases, a Tier 1 officer will gather information from you and will schedule a callback from a Tier 2 officer, which can take several hours or even several days. After you have successfully submitted your request via phone, remember to ask the officer for the case number assigned to the request before you get off the phone.

Within 1-2 weeks, you should receive an email from USCIS asking for documentation and evidence of your situation (such as medical records or letter from your employer). You should attach all relevant documents, evidence, and receipts and return them to the appropriate USCIS service center by email and/or fax, depending on their request. Be sure to save copies of all of documents for your own records. Typically it will take about one week to hear about a decision regarding your expedite request.  

If your request is denied but you believe that you meet the requirements, you may be able to enlist congressional assistance by contacting the USCIS liaison at your congressional office to help you file your expedite request.