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What is Expedited Processing?

By September 13, 2018April 8th, 2021Immigration
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Foreign nationals who are preparing to file an application for an immigration benefit with USCIS, or those who have already filed an application and are waiting for a decision, may require expedited processing of their applications in some instances where there is an urgent humanitarian or economic need. Such situations may arise, for example, when:

  • Your application for a travel document is still pending but you have an urgent need to travel back to your home country to be with a critically ill family member. For more information about advance parole, please click here;
  • You are a nonprofit organization with an urgent need to bring foreign nationals into the United States for an important cultural event that is fast approaching; or
  • You are a diversity lottery winner who must have your adjustment of status application approved before the end of the fiscal year. For more information about applying for your green card as a diversity lottery winner, please click here and here.

USCIS will consider expediting an application in the following circumstances:

  • Severe financial loss to company or person;
  • Emergency situation;
  • Humanitarian reasons;
  • Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
  • Department of Defense or national interest situation originating from an official U.S. government entity;
  • USCIS error; or
  • Compelling interest of USCIS.

The criteria are not more specific because USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the reviewing officer.

Since the decision to grant an expedite request is so discretionary, the applicant should submit as much documentary evidence and information as possible to demonstrate that the situation is urgent and merits the grant of the expedite request.

For example, a foreign national seeking to expedite a pending application for advance parole to visit a critically ill family member abroad may consider submitting the following:

  • Medical documents from the family member’s hospital or doctor showing the patient’s medical history, as well as the current condition and prognosis;
  • Information about the medical condition from an official source such as the American Heart Association or the National Institutes of Health; and
  • Letter from the foreign national describing his/her relationship with the ill family member, and the foreign national’s urgent need to travel to be with the family member.

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