USCIS updates – expedite requests

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Dev B. Viswanath, Esq. (Photo courtesy of Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.)

USCIS may agree to expedite adjudication of a benefit request (such as an application or petition) for an immigration benefit based on a request made by an applicant or their attorney/representative.

Because granting an expedite request means that USCIS would adjudicate the requestor’s benefit ahead of others who filed earlier, the request and action taken to expedite are not carried out without serious consideration.

The agency may consider an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria or circumstances:

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*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.

Job loss may be sufficient to establish severe financial loss for a person, depending on the individual circumstances. 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;

For expedited requests 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.

*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.

*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);

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.

or

Clear USCIS error – If the agency made a mistake and rectification is clearly required.

Not every circumstance that fits in one of these categories will result in expedited processing. But it does not mean that if expedited processing is needed you should not try if you believe that the case falls within the enumerated categories. Definitely you should consult with a trained immigration professional if you have interest or concerns on the above.

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