Chapter 5 - Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions

Benefit requestors may request USCIS to expedite the adjudication of their applications or petitions. USCIS considers all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and generally requires documentation to support such requests. The decision to grant or deny an expedite request is within the sole discretion of USCIS.

Expedite Criteria

USCIS does not consider expedite requests for petitions and applications that have Premium Processing Service available.

USCIS may consider expediting a benefit request if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Severe financial loss to a company [1] or person, [2] provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure: (1) to file the benefit request or the request to expedite in a reasonable time frame; or (2) to respond to any requests for additional evidence in a reasonably timely manner;

  • Urgent humanitarian reasons;

  • Compelling U.S. Government interests (such as urgent cases for the Department of Defense or DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or

  • Clear USCIS error.

Not every circumstance that fits under one of these categories will result in expedited treatment.

To increase efficiency in the review and processing of expedite requests, USCIS is not required to provide justification and is not required to respond regarding decisions on expedite requests.

This policy applies to all expedite requests filed on or after May 10, 2019, the effective date of this policy. USCIS reviews expedite requests filed before May 10, 2019 under the prior policy in effect.

For more information on how to make an expedite request, see the How to Make an Expedite Request web page.


1. [^] Severe financial loss to a company means the company would be at risk of failing.

2. [^] The need to obtain employment authorization, standing alone, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment. 

No legal authorities available at this time.


No appendices available at this time.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

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This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].



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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding services USCIS provides to the public, including general administration of certain immigration benefits, online tools, and up-to-date information.



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