USCIS Adds new Criteria and Guidance for Expedite Requests

This year the USCIS is adding healthcare workers to their expedite program. U.S. employers who are short-staffed will be able to request this service in light of Covid-19.

Immigrants and employers alike often operate with the belief that there is no way to increase the speed of their application, or petition processing time with the USCIS. However, under select circumstances, an applicant or company might be able to expedite, or speed up their claim they have filed. This week, the USCIS has added new material to their overarching policy manual regarding expedited claims, and how to move forward if you believe your case warrants special attention.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at this section of the Policy Manual that deals with expediting requests, as well as new material that has been highlighted.

Locating the Manual

First off, it is a good idea to become familiar with the Policy Manual, especially if you are an employer filing a petition on behalf of a prospective employee. The policy manual can be your go-to-guide for highly specific questions and will work in your favor if you start reading it more often versus relying on a USCIS rep. 

In order to get to the section dedicated to Expedite Requests, you first need to relocate to From here, go to Volume 1, and then click on “Public Services”. On the left hand column, you will see different chapters in this part of the manual that deal with public services.

Scroll down to Chapter 5, Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions. This section should contain any questions and answers you might be looking for.

New Material

One of the key measures of expedite requests is that they’re reserved for emergency situations only. This means that if premium processing is available for your immigration request, you need to use this service instead of expediting.

In general, expedite requests can be made on behalf of:

  1. Non-profit organizations (if they are registered with the IRS) for furthering a cultural or social interest for the organization. The beneficiaries role must be clearly defined and urgent for the sake of the organization.
  2. U.S. government interests. If an expedited request is made in reference to an urgent national security matter on behalf of a beneficiary, then the expedite request is legitimate and warranted. Again, emergency situations only.
  3. Humanitarian/Human Welfare. This guidance is very new due to the Covid-19 pandemic and states that the USCIS may expedite EAD applications for healthcare workers due to short staffing in hospitals. Humanitarian reasons also apply such as in the event of needing someone skilled in a certain medical science.[1]

Employers should also note that if they make an expedited request on behalf of their petition filed, a USCIS officer might visit their company to ask basic questions to gain a better understanding of the workplace.[2]

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H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

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I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

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National Interest Waiver (NIW)

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