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My extension of status petition has been pending for a long time. What can I do to speed up the process? Can I file an expedite request?

By January 27, 2021March 29th, 2021Covid 19
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Due to Covid-19 global pandemic, the USCIS Service Centers are taking longer than usual to make a decision on all types of visa petitions. If you filed an extension of status petition long time ago and USCIS still has not issued a decision, that is fine and you can stay in the U.S. as long as your extension of status petition is pending (assuming that you filed the extension of status petition before your status expired (meaning, before your I-94 expired).

How long is it currently taking USCIS to adjudicate extension of status petition?

This will depend on what form you filed to extend your status (I-129 or I-539 form) and which Service Center is the case currently pending at. You can find the current USCIS processing times when you click here.

Unfortunately, it is currently taking several months for USCIS to make a decision on extension of status applications. Please note that if you were for example extending your E-1/E-2 status and you filed an I-129 form, you may be eligible to pay a Premium Processing Fee and USCIS will decide your case in 15 days.

Expedite Request

Please note that one way how you could ask USCIS to make a decision on your petition faster is to file an Expedite Request. However, please note that the criteria on how you could qualify for an expedite request are extremely narrow and it’s been our experience that USCIS only grants the Expedite Requests in extremely limited amount of cases.

USCIS considers the expedite requests on case by case basis and USCIS officers have discretion to grant/deny these requests.

You may file an expedite request if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of your failure to:
    1. File the benefit request or the expedite request in a reasonable time frame, or
    2. 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

Extension of Status petition has been pending for more than 240 days

If your extension of status petition has been pending for some time and you qualified for the 240 day work extension one extremely important thing to keep in mind is to track when they 240 days are up, so you don’t accidentally start working without authorization.

You can qualify for the 240 day extension for example if you are extending you status for s an E-1 treaty trader, E-2 treaty investor, L-1 worker, or O-1 worker. The 240 day extension means that you can keep working for the same employer for up to 240 days, while you extension of status petition is pending. Please see our blog post on this when you click here .

I need to leave the U.S. while my extension of status petition is pending. Will my petition be considered abandoned?

No. You can leave the U.S. if your extension of status petition is pending and it will not be considered abandoned, and USCIS will still make a decision on your petition.

Please see our blog post on Change of Status/Extension of Status when you click here.

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