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So, you have successfully submitted an immigration petition to USCIS, expecting that your petition would be processed in a timely manner. Unfortunately you are met with frustrating case processing delays. With immigration-related petitions taking months and sometimes years to be adjudicated by USCIS, most applicants might wonder if there are ways of processing their petitions faster. In this post, you’ll learn 7 best ways of speeding up your USCIS immigration case.
Submitting Comprehensive Petitions
Admittedly, filing an immigration petition is quite complicated and could result in the omission of important information or supporting documents.
For each filing category, there are usually multiple forms that need to be completed which increases the likelihood of making a mistake.
Furthermore, these forms have expiration dates that could be easily overlooked when submitting your petition, possibly causing your immigration case to be rejected.
Common pitfalls that could result in the delay or rejection of your immigration petition include:
- Inexact filing fees - either underpayment or overpayment
- Illegible handwriting
- Inaccurate passport photographs
- Submitting passport photographs that have been used on other immigration petitions
- Missing hand signatures on immigration forms
The importance of thoroughly reviewing your application forms and supporting documents can’t be overemphasized. Taking the time to do this early on in the application process significantly reduces the chances of receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, which could further delay the processing of your petition by several weeks or months.
Speed Up Your USCIS Immigration Case by Responding To An RFE in a Timely Manner
While the chances of receiving a Request for Evidence from USCIS can be reduced, they can’t be completely eliminated. Nevertheless, in the event that you receive an RFE from USCIS, you should send a response as quickly as possible.
In an RFE notice, USCIS would explicitly describe the issue with your petition as well as what needs to be done to remedy it.
You would also be given a period of time - typically 60 days - to respond. It is very important that you provide all the requested evidence listed in your RFE at the same time. Failure to do so could result in your petition getting rejected.
Paying for Premium Processing
For certain immigrant petitions, USCIS provides expedited processing within 15 calendar days.
However, this expedited service can cost as much as $2500, excluding all other filing fees required for the petition you are submitting.
The premium processing service can be requested during or after the submission of your petition.
Speeding Up Your USCIS Immigration Case with an Online Case Inquiry
Applicants experiencing delays that fall outside the current processing time of the service center where their applications were submitted can submit a case inquiry using the USCIS website.
You can learn how to check the current processing time of your USCIS service center here.
Upon submitting your service request, USCIS will provide an email response within 21 calendar days describing any issues with your case and how the issues may be resolved.
You should note that applicants can only submit one case inquiry within a 30 day window.
While sending an online inquiry may not guarantee that your petition would be expedited, it is an effective way of getting the attention of USCIS.
Furthermore, you receive more insight on the status of your case compared to what is shown on the USCIS case tracking tool.
Speeding Up Your USCIS Immigration Case with an Expedite Request
Under qualifying circumstances USCIS could adjudicate a petition faster than the normal processing time. These circumstances include:
- Severe monetary loss to a person or company
- Humanitarian reasons
- Compelling U.S. government interests
- An error caused by USCIS
An extended delay in the processing of your immigration petition does not warrant expedited treatment.
In order to be successful with your expedite request you would need to provide sufficient documentation to validate your reasons for an expedite.
For example, if your reason for an expedite is due to personal monetary loss, you may want to include bank statements, overdue bills, and or eviction notices as evidence that you’re facing dire financial circumstances.
How to Make an Expedite Request
STEP 1: Obtain a Receipt Notice from USCIS
You will need to provide the Receipt Number written on your Form I-797C Notice of Action. Without this number, you will be unable to request an expedite.
STEP 2: Contact the USCIS Contact Center
You can request expedited processing by calling USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 (or 1-800-767-1833 for TTY disability call). During this call you should request to speak with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 officer, and not a USCIS customer service rep. This officer will create and forward a service request to the office with jurisdiction over your petition.
STEP 3: Obtain a Service Request Number
After the service request is created, you should receive an email with a Request Number for your expedite service. This number is used to track the status of your expedite request only.
STEP 4: Submit Documentation
The reviewing officer may request that you provide documentation to support your expedite request.
These documents will typically be sent via email. Upon the review of your request for expedite service, a decision will be made to move your petition number to the front of the queue.
If you are successful, your petition will be adjudicated much faster than the current processing time.
Speed Up Your Immigration Case With Help From Your Congressman
Your Congressman can help speed up your immigration case with USCIS, as USCIS is one of several U.S. federal agencies under the direct oversight of the U.S. Congress.
You can find the contact information of the member of congress representing your district using your residential address or zip code. In most cases, the process of getting help could be done by visiting the website of the office of your Congressman as opposed to scheduling an in-office appointment with the Congressman.
In order for your Congressman’s office to assist you with USCIS, you would be required to provide written consent electronically or through fax/mail.
Once this consent is received, your Congressman’s office will contact USCIS to determine if there are any issues with your immigration case. They would also guide you on what could be done to resolve any issues with your case.
Filing a Writ of Mandamus
A writ of Mandamus could be the ultimate way of speeding up your immigration case with USCIS.
Essentially it is a lawsuit filed in federal court where you ask the judge to make USCIS adjudicate your case quickly. As it is a lawsuit, you would need to be represented by an attorney and may incur legal fees.
While case processing delays are far too common when dealing with USCIS, you don’t need to idly wait on USCIS to take action on your case.
Pursuing a combination of these methods will at minimum get the attention of USCIS, which brings you closer to obtaining an adjudication on your immigration case.
If you have found any of these methods of speeding up your USCIS immigration case helpful, kindly get the word out by sharing this post on your social media platform.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is written for general information only and is NOT legal advice. The information presented in this article and anywhere else on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may contact a licensed attorney.