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New USCIS Policy Guidance on Expedite Requests

March 23, 2024

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its Policy Manual on March 21, 2024, outlining clearer criteria for expedite requests. This update aims to provide additional guidance on the submission and processing of expedite requests, clarifying when they may be considered and the documentation required.

Overview of USCIS Policy on Expedite Requests

Expedite requests are typically reserved for applications or petitions ineligible for premium processing or in limited circumstances, such as urgent humanitarian reasons, compelling U.S. government interests, clear USCIS error, severe financial loss, or nonprofit organizations furthering U.S. cultural or social interests.

Expedite Requests by Governmental Entities

The updated guidance specifies how governmental entities at federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local levels can request expedited processing to serve urgent interests related to public safety, national security, or other critical concerns. The USCIS generally defers to the government's assessment of the urgency of the request.

Expedite Requests for Travel Documents

New guidance covers expedited processing of travel document applications (Form I- 131) for emergencies like illness, death, extreme living conditions, or armed conflicts. Expedite requests for planned events are considered if standard processing times exceed the event date.

Expedite Requests for Clear USCIS Error

Expedite requests may be granted if there's a clear USCIS error causing urgent need for correction, such as incorrect information on a travel document preventing travel.

USCIS Expedite Request Processing Procedures

Procedural factors like outstanding evidence, pending background checks, required on- site inspections, or dependencies on other applications may affect processing. Although responses to expedite requests are typical, denials may not include specific reasons.

How to Make an Expedite Request

Individuals can request expedited processing by calling the USCIS Contact Center or using the Ask Emma virtual assistant tool on the USCIS website. Supporting documentation is usually required to substantiate the request.


These updates offer detailed insights into USCIS expedite request evaluation and submission procedures. However, improving overall processing times would diminish the necessity for expedite requests.