How to Make an Expedite Request
You may ask USCIS to expedite adjudication of a benefit request (such as an application or petition) for an immigration benefit.
- Considers all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis;
- May require additional documentation to support a request; and
- Has the sole discretion to decide whether to accommodate a request.
Because granting an expedite request means that USCIS would adjudicate the requestor's benefit ahead of others who filed earlier, we carefully weigh the urgency and merit of each expedite request. We may consider an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria or circumstances:
- 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;
A company can demonstrate that it would suffer a severe financial loss if it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or having to lay off other employees. For example, a medical office may suffer severe financial loss if a gap in a doctor’s employment authorization would require the medical practice to lay off its medical assistants.
Job loss may be sufficient to establish severe financial loss for a person, depending on the individual circumstances. For example, the inability to travel for work that would result in job loss might warrant expedited treatment. The need to obtain employment authorization by itself, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment. In addition, severe financial loss may also be established where failure to expedite would result in a loss of critical public benefits or services.
- Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons;
In the context of an expedite request, humanitarian reasons are those related to human welfare. Examples may include, but are not limited to, 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. An emergency may include an urgent need to expedite employment authorization for healthcare workers during a national emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, an expedite request may be considered under this criterion in instances where a vulnerable person’s safety may be compromised due to a breach of confidentiality if there is a delay in processing the benefit application. A benefit requestor’s desire to travel for vacation does not, in general, meet the definition of an emergency.
- Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States;
A nonprofit organization seeking to expedite a beneficiary’s benefit request must demonstrate an urgent need to expedite the case based on the beneficiary’s specific role within the nonprofit in furthering cultural or social interests (as opposed to the organization’s role in furthering social or cultural interests). Examples may include a medical professional urgently needed for medical research related to a specific social U.S. interest (such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other socially impactful research or project) or a university professor urgently needed to participate in a specific and imminent cultural program. Another example is a religious organization that urgently needs a beneficiary’s specific services and skill set to continue a vital social outreach program. In such instances, the religious organization must articulate why the respective beneficiary is specifically needed, as opposed to pointing to a general shortage alone.
- 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
U.S. government interests may include, but are not limited to, cases identified as urgent by other government agencies, including labor and employment agencies, and public safety or national security interests.
For expedite requests made by a federal agency, involving other public safety or national security interests, the national interest need must be immediate and substantive. If the need for the action is not immediate, expedited processing is not warranted. A substantive need does not mean that a delay would pose existential or irreversible consequences to the national interests but rather that the case at hand is of a scale or a uniqueness that requires immediate action to prevent real and serious harm to U.S. interests.
Expedite requests from government agencies (federal, state, or local) must be made by a senior-level official of that agency. If the request relates to employment authorization, the request must demonstrate that the need for a person to be employment-authorized is mission-critical and goes beyond a general need to retain a particular worker or person. Examples include, but are not limited to, a noncitizen victim or witness cooperating with a federal, state, or local agency who is in need of employment authorization because the respective agency is seeking back pay or reinstatement in court proceedings.
- Clear USCIS error.
Not every circumstance that fits in one of these categories will result in expedited processing.
For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 1, Part A, Public Services, Chapter 5, Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions [1 USCIS-PM A.5].
You can generally request expedited processing by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) or by asking Emma after you have obtained a receipt notice. (You can access Emma by clicking on the Ask Emma icon on the top right of this page). The USCIS Contact Center will not be able to refer the expedite request to the appropriate office without a receipt number.
When you call to request expedited processing, the USCIS Contact Center creates and forwards a service request to the office with jurisdiction over your application or petition. After receiving the service request, the reviewing office may request additional documentation to support expedited processing. A decision on an expedite request is not an approval or a denial of the underlying benefit request. The expedite decision simply informs the requestor whether USCIS will take the benefit request out of date order and issue a decision (approval or denial) faster than the normal processing time.
In accordance with the criteria above, note specific handling procedures in the following circumstances:
See the USCIS Adoption Contact Information webpage for information on how to make expedite requests for adoption cases.
Requests for expedited processing of appeals may be included with the appeal. Expedite requests included with the appeal will be reviewed by the office that issued the decision.
For appeals filed with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), any expedite request made after the appeal submission should be mailed or faxed directly to AAO. See AAO’s Processing Requests and Contacting the AAO pages for more information.
Regardless of whether the expedite request is submitted with the appeal or afterward, the expedite request should include:
- A cover letter clearly marked “EXPEDITE REQUEST”; and
- Documentary evidence supporting the request for expedited processing of the appeal.
Requests for expedited processing of appeals filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) should follow the BIA expeditious handling procedures.
Applications for Asylum
Requests for expedited processing on asylum applications should be directed to the office with jurisdiction over the asylum application. See the Affirmative Asylum Interview Scheduling page for more information.
Benefit Requests Pending Outside the United States
Send requests for expedited processing of applications for refugee status to the Resettlement Support Center handling the case abroad. For more information, see the USCIS Questions and Answers: Refugees page.
Send requests for expedited processing of humanitarian parole for beneficiaries located outside of the United States to the Humanitarian Affairs Branch. For more information, see the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page.
For all other immigration benefit requests pending with USCIS offices located outside the United States, you may request expedited processing by submitting a written request, along with any supporting documentation, directly to the USCIS office with the benefit request.
For contact information for USCIS offices located outside the United States, see the USCIS International Immigration Offices page. Requests for expedited processing on matters pending with Department of State (DOS) should follow DOS expeditious handling procedures.