How to expedite an H-1b petition without premium processing (2020)

In General

You may ask USCIS to expedite the adjudication of an application or petition for an immigration benefit.

USCIS:

  • Considers all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Requires documentation to support a request.
  • Has the sole discretion to decide whether to grant or deny a request.
  • Does not consider expedite requests for applications or petitions that have Premium Processing Service available.

USCIS may consider an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s 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.

When considering severe financial loss to a person: If the expedite request relates to an application for employment authorization or student status, the need to obtain employment authorization or student status, standing alone without any evidence of other compelling factors does not warrant expedited treatment.

All expedite requests claiming severe financial loss, regardless of the immigration benefit sought and regardless of whether the claimed loss is to a company or a person, must be documented to establish the loss and that the requestor is not able to withstand the temporary financial loss that is the natural result of normal processing times

For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 1, Part A, Public Services, Chapter 5, Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions [1 USCIS-PM A.5].

You can generally request expedited processing by contacting the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY for the deaf, hard of hearing, or those having a speech disability: 1-800-767-1833) after you have obtained a receipt notice. The USCIS Contact Center will not be able to refer the expedite request to the appropriate office without a receipt number. When you call to request expedited processing, the USCIS Contact Center creates and forwards a service request to the office with jurisdiction over your application or petition.

After receiving the service request, the reviewing office may request additional documentation to support expedited processing. A decision on an expedite request is not an approval or a denial of the underlying benefit request. The expedite decision simply informs the requestor  whether USCIS will take the benefit request out of date order and issue a decision (approval or denial) faster than the normal processing time.

Benefit requestors may request USCIS to expedite the adjudication of their applications or petitions. USCIS considers all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and generally requires documentation to support such requests. The decision to grant or deny an expedite request is within the sole discretion of USCIS.

Expedite Criteria

USCIS does not consider expedite requests for petitions and applications that have Premium Processing Service available.

USCIS may consider expediting a benefit request if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Severe financial loss to a company [1] or person, [2] provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure: (1) to file the benefit request or the request to expedite in a reasonable time frame; or (2) to 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.

Not every circumstance that fits under one of these categories will result in expedited treatment.

To increase efficiency in the review and processing of expedite requests, USCIS is not required to provide justification and is not required to respond regarding decisions on expedite requests.

This policy applies to all expedite requests filed on or after May 10, 2019, the effective date of this policy. USCIS reviews expedite requests filed before May 10, 2019 under the prior policy in effect.

For more information on how to make an expedite request, see the How to Make an Expedite Request web page.

Footnotes


1. [^] Severe financial loss to a company means the company would be at risk of failing.

2. [^] The need to obtain employment authorization, standing alone, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment. 

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