Our firm receives a lot of inquiries asking how they can request the USCIS to expedite their applications. Some clients need to travel abroad but if they have an application for adjustment of status pending, they generally would not be able to travel abroad without first obtaining an advance parole from the USCIS. Or, perhaps they stopped working because their existing work permits have already expired (e.g., expiration of their OPT EAD) and they need to obtain a new work permit in order to continue working. In any event, while everyone would love to have their applications adjudicated right away, the reality is no agency or anyone has the capacity to turn everyone's case around overnight. The USCIS, however, provides a mechanism for applicants to request expedited handling of their applications if they meet certain criteria.
Specifically, all expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and must demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met. The criteria are:
1. Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioners or applicants failure to: a. Timely file the benefit request, or b. Timely respond to any requests for additional evidence;
2. Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons;
3. Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
4. U.S. government interests (such as urgent cases for federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor, DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or
5. Clear USCIS error.
See USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/how-to-make-an-expedite-request
STEPS TO MAKE AN EXPEDITE REQUEST
If you have a situation that meets one or more of the above criteria, what you need to do is to call the USCIS Customer Service at 18003755283. Once you are connected, ask for "INFOPASS" and the system would ask you to enter your case number. Enter your case number and a live USCIS officer would get on the phone to talk to you. At that time, you would need to give the agent your personal info to confirm your identity. And then the officer would ask you the reasons for the expedite request. You will need to explain to the officer the reasons for your request. After that, the officer would ask you for your phone number and email. You should get an email from the USCIS in a few days to perhaps one to two weeks asking you to submit the evidence in support of your expedite request by fax to the USCIS.
We have successfully assisted clients in making expedite requests. The favorable outcome, however, is not indicative of future success as each case is different on its own and given the fact that all immigration adjudications are done by humans, certain discretion on a case-by-case basis could easily affect the outcome.
Michael W. Lin, Esq.