Applying for U.S. travel documents can be a long and complicated process, but it doesn't have to be. If you need documentation within a certain time frame, you may be able to expedite your travel documents through Form I-131 or advance parole. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to expedite Form I-131.

What is USCIS Expedite Case Processing?

Expedited case processing is a legal procedure that allows certain cases to be prioritized over others in order to expedite their resolution. This procedure is typically used in situations where time is of the essence, such as in cases involving urgent health or safety concerns or cases where there is a risk of irreparable harm if the matter is not resolved quickly. 

When Can I Expedite my Case with USCIS?

The following circumstances may meet the criteria for expediting a case with USCIS

  • Severe Financial Loss: Cases where an individual faces serious financial hardship. In order to qualify for severe financial loss, an applicant must demonstrate that:
    • The company is at risk of failing 
    • The company is at risk of losing a contract 
    • The company is at risk of laying off employees 
    • Loss of critical public benefits or services 
  • Humanitarian Reasons: Cases where an individual’s health or safety is at risk. Examples of humanitarian reasons may include:
    • Illness
    • Death in the family
    • Extreme living conditions
    • A critical need to travel in order to obtain medical treatment
  • Emergency Situations: Cases where there is an urgent need for USCIS to take action. The applicant’s safety may be compromised due to a breach of confidentiality.
  • USCIS Error: Cases where USCIS made an error in processing an application. 
  • Non-Profit Organizations Filing on Behalf of Employees: Cases where a non-profit organization is sponsoring an employee for a work-related visa.
    • The non-profit must demonstrate that the beneficiary’s specific role in the organization is beneficial to the cultural or social interests of the United States.
  • U.S. Government National Interest Situation: Cases where the immigrant’s work is in the interest of a U.S. government entity. The request must be made by a senior-level official of the agency. These cases may include: 
    • Cases identified as urgent by other government entities, such as labor and employment agencies, national security agencies, or public safety agencies. 

How to Submit an Expedite Request for Form I-131 

Suppose you believe your situation qualifies for expedited processing with USCIS. In that case, you need to Submit the expedited request along with the submission of I-131, Application for Travel Document, or after receiving a receipt notice. The process for the expedite request may vary depending on the type of case and the USCIS service center handling the case. However, in general, you will need to follow these steps:

Gather Supporting Documentation

You will need to provide evidence to support your request for expedited processing, demonstrating your case's urgency. 

Submit a Request for Expedited Processing

There are five options when submitting an expedited processing request. For each option, you will need to submit a cover letter titled “Expedite Request,” reasoning for the request, supporting documentation, and your submission receipt from Form I-131

  1. Submit the expedited request with the submission of I-131, Application for Travel Document, Or after receiving a receipt notice. 
  1. Submit the expedite request by phone.  You can do this by calling the USCIS Contact Center (1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 for TTY). You will be transferred to the USCIS service center handling your case. At this point, you will speak to a representative, and they will transfer you to a tier 1 or tier 2 officer. You must present why you are requesting expedited processing and provide your contact information and your application receipt number. They will provide you with an expedited service request number, which you should write down in order to check the status.Shortly after completing the phone conversation, you will receive an email from USCIS requesting supporting documentation for your request. Combine the previously gathered supporting documentation and condense it into a single PDF, ensuring it is no longer than 15 pages. 
  1. Submit the expedite request by mail. Include your reasoning, documentation, and receipt number in an envelope and mail it to your USCIS office.  
  1. Submit the expedite request on the USCIS website with “Ask Emma.” Emma is a computer-generated assistant on the top right of the USCIS page. Simply click the correct language and type in “expedited processing request.” Then, you will navigate the prompts and respond with reasoning and documentation. 
  1. Submit the expedite request with members of Congress. You will need to look up the contact details for members of Congress in your area. Once you find the correct phone number or email address, call or email them and explain the situation. Occasionally, a Congress member will have a form on their website to request contact. If this is an option, fill out the form and wait for them to contact you. Again, you will need to provide reasoning and supporting documentation along with your Form I-131 receipt number.  

Wait for a Decision

After submitting an expedite request,  you should hear back from USCIS within 10 days to determine whether your request for expedited travel documents was approved or denied. You can check the status of your case using the USCIS online tracking tool

FAQs For How to Expedite Form I-131

Is USCIS expedite request processing guaranteed?

No, expedited processing is not guaranteed. USCIS will review each request on a case-by-case basis.

How long does USCIS expedite request processing take?

The processing time for expedited cases will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Usually, you will receive the decision about the expedite request within 10 days. If the request is approved, the travel documents will likely be available in 2-3 weeks.

What kind of supporting documentation do I need to provide with USCIS expedite request?

The supporting documentation will depend on the type of case and the circumstances of the request. USCIS will provide guidance on what documents are required.

Can I submit USCIS expedite request more than once if the first request is denied?

Yes, if your first request is denied, you can submit another expedit request with USCIS or by using a different request option. For example, if your request was denied after a phone call with USCIS, consider contacting a member of Congress.

Conclusion For How to Expedite Form I-131

In conclusion, expedited processing can be a useful option for individuals who need their travel documents processed quickly. By understanding the eligibility criteria and following the application process, you can increase your chances of having your request for expedited processing approved. However, it's important to note that expedited processing is not guaranteed and each case is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you have any questions or concerns about the expedited processing of your case, it's recommended that you speak with an immigration lawyer or contact USCIS for guidance.