Changes to Expedite Criteria

Last Updated

July 15, 2019

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, issued new criteria on May 10 for when a case filed with USCIS may be expedited, narrowing the situations in which this discretionary benefit can be used. Please see the changes to the expedite criteria below.

USCIS may expedite a​ petition or application if it meets one or more of the following criteria (the criteria was recently revised in the USCIS policy manual):

  • Severe financial loss to a company or ​a person,​ provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure
  • Urgent humanitarian reasons
  • Clear USCIS error
  • Compelling interest of the U.S. government.

The RIS team has often used the “nonprofit organization” criteria in situations where a religious worker’s R-1 status is maxing out and Form I-360 — the first step in the process for a religious worker’s permanent residency — is pending. With increased processing delays, the ability to request a petition be expedited can be very helpful in trying to ensure religious workers can stay in the U.S. during the permanent residence process. CLINIC’s RIS team submitted comments regarding these changes during the comment period on behalf of the interest of our clients.