Don’t be afraid to ask . . . USCIS to expedite your immigration case!

In the past six months, we’ve been successful getting our clients’ cases moved ahead of the pack by asking USCIS for expedited processing and providing strong evidence to support the agency’s approval of this discretionary action. Many immigration lawyers in Alaska and the Lower 48 discourage clients from seeking “expedited adjudication” of their cases arguing that it’s a waste of time because it’s never granted. But, you have nothing to lose by asking!  It’s free, and even if your request is denied, you don’t lose your place in line.  Arguably, USCIS sparingly grants requests for expedited adjudication of immigration benefits, which are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The agency has “sole discretion” on whether to consider such requests, and when it does, it carefully weighs “the urgency and merit of each expedite request.”  There are five, broad bases under which USCIS will exercise this discretionary authority: Severe financial loss to a business or person; emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons; nonprofit organization requests in furtherance of cultural or social interests of the US; federal government interests; and clear error on the part of USCIS.  Making this request is a fairly simple process: call USCIS’s Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 or use its online intake service named “Emma” (the former is recommended). You’ll need to have the I-797C receipt number for the form submitted handy and be prepared to briefly state why you think your petition or application warrants consideration under one of the five bases ahead of other cases filed before yours.  It’s extremely important to get the expedited request reference number provided to you by the representative over the phone.  You may get an email within 1 to 7 days asking for supporting documents to be sent to the service center processing the file, and you will want to make sure your cover letter has this reference number in the subject line. Even if you don’t hear from the USCIS, go ahead and send a follow-up letter with the information supporting your request. Again, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you think your immigration file merits requesting expedited processing, give us a call so we can help you, too.

Scroll to Top