If You Want to Expedite Your Application or Petition

Expedite Visa Application

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) receives approximately 6 million petitions and applications every year from individual applicants and also employers. The average processing times vary widely depending on many factors such as the type of form filed, the service center processing the form, and how at the time the USCIS is shifting its human recourses. It is uncommon that USCIS experiences delays in processing petitions and applications. The delays can cause stress or inconveniences to the applicants or petitioners. In certain instances, it is possible to ask USCIS to consider expediting its processing for a particular application, even if the case is within the normal processing time.

Expedited Processing Criteria

USCIS follows certain rules to decide whether it will expedite a particular case request. It may expedite a petition or application if it meets one (1) or more of the following criteria:

1. Severe financial loss to company or person;
2. Emergency situation, i.e. the applicant is gravely ill;
3. Humanitarian reasons, i.e. outbreak of war in the home country;
4. Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States, i.e. an organization broadcasting in regional areas to promote democratic interests;
5. Department of Defense or national interest situation: the request must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that a delay will be detrimental to the government;
6. USCIS error; or
7. Compelling interest of USCIS.

It is the applicant or petitioner’s responsibility to prove that their case meets one or more of USCIS’s expedited processing criteria.

How to Submit an Expedite Request

With the Initial Filing. If an expedite request is being made at the time of filing, write “PLEASE EXPEDITE” in the heading of the letter which requests expedited processing. Also write the expedite request note on the envelope. It is highly recommended that you include a prepaid return express delivery envelope.

Once a receipt is issued, follow up by calling the National Customer Service Center (“NCSC”) at 1-800-375-5283. Follow the prompt instructions and choose the prompt for “To report a problem with your case.” Calls to NCSC can be made between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in your time zone.

After the Application or Petition has Been Filed. If you have already filed your application or petition, you can make an expedite request by calling the NCSC. A customer service representative (“agent”) will assign a Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) number to use as a reference for any additional inquiries on the expedite request. You should request this number along with the agent name and agent ID in order to better track the inquiry.

Can I Submit Additional Documentation?

Documentation in support of an expedite request may be included with the initial petition or application filing. If you made your expedite request by calling the NCSC, you should wait until an officer has requested supporting documentation. If additional documentation is needed to support the expedite request, USCIS will contact the customer or attorney of record directly via email, fax, or mail.

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