New USCIS Expedite Request Guidelines: What You Need to Know

USCIS has recently updated its guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding expedite requests, particularly concerning government interests and emergency situations. Below is a summary of the key points:

Government Interests:

  • USCIS may expedite cases identified as urgent by various government entities due to public interest, safety, national interest, or security concerns.
  • Expedite requests from federal agencies are generally given greater deference.

Travel-Related Requests:

  • USCIS will expedite Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) for individuals in the US with pressing needs to travel, whether for planned or unplanned events.
  • Criteria for expedited processing now include processing times would prevent USCIS from issuing the travel document by the planned date of departure.

Submission and Processing:

  • Expedite requests can be made using USCIS online tools or through the USCIS Contact Center.
  • USCIS will notify applicants of the decision on their expedite request, typically through the Contact Center (online account).

*It is highly recommended to submit documents substantiating your claims about the need for expedited processing with your request. For additional support, request a consultation with an attorney here.

Effective Immediately:

  • These guidelines are now in effect and supersede any previous guidance.

For more detailed information, refer to the original USCIS Guidelines below.

Original USCIS Guidence text:

USCIS is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how we consider expedite requests related to government interests and requests related to emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations, including travel-related requests. This update also clarifies how to make an expedite request and explains how we process expedite requests.

Government Interests

This update clarifies that we may expedite cases identified as urgent by federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local governments of the United States because they involve public interest, public safety, national interest, or national security interests. This update clarifies that when an expedite request is made by a federal government agency or department based on government interests, we generally defer to that agency or department’s assessment.

Travel-Related Requests

We issue several types of travel documents. This update clarifies that we will consider expediting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, for benefit requestors in the United States when they have a pressing or critical need to leave the United States, whether the need to travel relates to an unplanned or planned event, such as a professional, academic, or personal commitment.

When the need is related to a planned event, we consider whether:

  • The applicant timely filed Form I-131; and
  • Processing times would prevent us from issuing the travel document by the planned date of departure.   

Submission and Processing of Expedite Requests

This update also clarifies how to make an expedite request, including how requestors can use USCIS online tools with secure messaging, such as submitting their expedite request and uploading evidence to support their expedite request if they have a USCIS online account.

This update explains how we process expedite requests by clarifying that we will generally respond to benefit requestors who submit their request through the USCIS Contact Center to inform them when we have made a decision on their expedite request. 

This guidance is effective immediately and is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance.

Source: USCIS, March, 2024


Have an immigration question? Fill out a consultation form and an immigration attorney will reach out to you shortly.

Similar Posts