Expedite Request due to Government Interest: What to know

Category:

An Expedite Request is a “special” request that MAY or MAY NOT be granted. It is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The fact that a case may be expedited, it does not mean that the overall immigration filing will be approved. Similarly, if a case is expedited by one Agency (e.g. USCIS), a new request must be submitted to the new agency (e.g. NVC).

This post will specifically focus on Government Interest Requests and what is recommended to be provided based on different common situations.

Additionally, please do not confuse this post with “Automatic Expedite Filings” due to Government Service, examples being:

  1. Naturalization due to Active Duty Military Service (Time of War or Peacetime)
  2. Naturalization Abroad while Active Duty Service Member or an Active Duty Service Member’s Dependant
  3. Naturalization of a Dependant of an Active Duty Service Member or Government Worker that will be abroad for more than 1 year
  4. Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI)

Please select your applicable situation Below in the Drop Down Section:


Active Duty Military PCS-ing/Deployment Abroad

First thing to note: The Immigration Agency WILL NOT expedite your immigration filing merely because you are Active Duty. There is NO BASIS to expedite just because of service.

Second thing to note: PCS-ing domestically, within the US, is NOT a grounds for expediting, that is just a change of address and change of Jurisdiction/USCIS Office.

Third thing to note: Mere deployment (going to a warzone or desert) would not be able to expedite an immigration filing, since the Immigrant is NOT expected to leave the US or have any change whatsoever, but if the immigrant is expected to accompany the active duty service member abroad, this MAY allow expediting.

In order to request an expedited filing for a pending immigration case, it is our office’s recommendation that an active duty service member provide to USCIS the following items:

  • Official Accompanying PCS/Deployment Orders; and
  • Letter from the Command or Security Officer

The Official Orders are generally issued 180 to 120 days PRIOR to the Report Date Abroad. This provides a “deadline,” a “date of urgency,” a date to argue against how the “normal processing time would NOT be in the Government’s Interest.” This date is mandatory, meaning unofficial orders or knowing that you may PCS at the end of the year or sometime next year, the date range WOULD NOT be sufficient.

Please Note: If the immigration filing will cause a hardship, the service member may need to look into Deferment.

Also Please Note: EXPEDITE REQUESTS usually occur when you are in a time crunch. Since you have to wait for the Official Orders, the 4 to 6 months prior to deployment are very stressful, BUT USCIS requires the urgency in order for you to “skip in line.”

What is Government Interest?

For Active Duty Service Members, the US Government has a strong interest in the service members:

  1. Deployability
  2. Security Clearance
  3. Service Member’s Emotional State
  4. Service Member’s ability/restriction to visit a spouse while abroad for 3 to 5 years
  5. Service Member’s Financial Stability if two households are required to be maintained

Letter from the Command or Security Officer Template:

Below is a Template the Command or Security Officer can write/sign in support of the expedite request and expressing their/the Government’s interest in expediting the immigration case:

 

[DATE]

Attention USCIS,

1. [INSERT RANK AND NAME] role is vital to the success of ______________ operations and his command.
2. Due to [INSERT RANK AND NAME] possessing a (Secret/Top Secret) Security Clearance and the sensitive nature of his duties, a prolonged immigration filing for his Spouse [INSERT SPOUSE’S NAME] could increase the likelihood of security clearance issues. These issues could prevent [INSERT RANK AND NAME] from having access to the material needed to support current operations. In order to prevent these issues, I am requesting that the immigration filing for [INSERT SPOUSE’S NAME] be expedited.
3. Due to the fact the (Accompanied Deployment/Permanent Change of Duty Station) is time sensative, and [INSERT RANK AND NAME] and [INSERT SPOUSE’S NAME] are expected to travel to [INSERT COUNTRY] and report in on [REPORT DATE]. It is also unreasonable to ask the spouses to remain apart for the next [e.g. 1.5 to 2 years [Note: USCIS usually can give an estimate of what an unexpedited filing will take to process over the phone and in their online time estimator] while the immigration filing is pending. The long separation from his spouse can damage the service member’s deployability and emotional stability. Moreover, [INSERT RANK AND NAME] would not be able to return to the US or other countries during his deployment to [INSERT COUNTRY] over the next few years.
 
4. Please accept this letter as evidence of the Government Request USCIS to expedite this immigration filing in the Government Interest. The Government has an Interest in Maintaining Security Clearance and Maintaining a high and always-at-the-ready level of Deployability. 
______________________________________
Signed by a Commanding Officer or Security Officer
[Signature Block with Rank and Station]

DOD Contractor currently working abroad or about to transfer abroad

First thing to note: The Immigration Agency WILL NOT expedite your immigration filing merely because you are a “Fellow Government Worker.” There is NO BASIS to expedite just because of government service.

Second thing to note: The Contractor Position MUST be Abroad, and it MUST connect to the Security Clearance. If it is DOMESTIC, then regular processing times shouldn’t be of concern.

In order to request an expedited filing for a pending immigration case, it is our office’s recommendation that a Contractor provide the following items:

  • DD-214
  • A Letter from the Security Officer requesting the Immigration Agency to Expedite the filing usually on the basis of the Sensitive Materials and Security Clearance
  • A Letter from the Contract Stating how Regular Processing would harm him/her and the immigrant (clear and brief summary of the harm that will occur)
  • A Contract of DOD Service or the HR providing a Letter stating the Job Title, GS Rank, and Length of Service Abroad.

What is Government Interest?

Simply put, maintenance of the Security Clearance.

Letter from the Command or Security Officer Template:

Below is a Template the HR or Service Officer can write/sign in support of the expedite request and expressing their/the Government’s interest in expediting the immigration case:

 

[DATE]

Attention [Agency],

1. [INSERT RANK AND NAME] role is vital to the success of ______________ operations and his command.
2. Due to [INSERT RANK AND NAME] possessing a (Secret/Top Secret) Security Clearance and the sensitive nature of his duties, a prolonged immigration filing for his Spouse [INSERT SPOUSE’S NAME] could increase the likelihood of security clearance issues. These issues could prevent [INSERT RANK AND NAME] from having access to the material needed to support current operations. In order to prevent these issues, I am requesting that the immigration filing for [INSERT SPOUSE’S NAME] be expedited.
______________________________________
Signed by a Commanding Officer or Security Officer
[Signature Block with Rank and Station]

How to Request an Expedite Request

How to Request an Expedite Request at USCIS:

Based on the type of USCIS Filing, Request Options might change. Here are the most common:

I-130:

  • Placing an Expedite Request over the phone, by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
  • Mailing the Request with the Receipt Notice and Supporting Documents to the Office processing your filing, which the office and address is located on the most recent Receipt or Transfer Notice.

I-130/I-485 AOS:

  • Placing an Expedite Request over the phone, by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
  • Mailing the Request with the Receipt Notice and Supporting Documents to the Office processing your filing, which the office and address is located on the most recent Receipt or Transfer Notice.
  • Mailing the Request to the FIELD OFFICE likely to Interview the Filing (Option after Biometrics has occurred or if filing is ready for scheduling).

I-765:

Not normally available to be expedited. More Infor Here: https://www.fickeymartinezlaw.com/immigration/adjustment-of-status/can-i-expedite-the-i-765-employment-authorization/

I-612:

  • Placing an Expedite Request over the phone, by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
  • Mailing the Request with the Receipt Notice and Supporting Documents to the Office processing your filing, which the office and address is located on the most recent Receipt or Transfer Notice.

I-129F:

Not Available since Fiance Relationship is not a qualifying civil status.

I-751:

  • Placing an Expedite Request over the phone, by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
  • Mailing the Request with the Receipt Notice and Supporting Documents to the Office processing your filing, which the office and address is located on the most recent Receipt or Transfer Notice.
  • Mailing the Request to the FIELD OFFICE likely to Interview the Filing (Option after Biometrics has occurred and if filing is ready for scheduling).

N-400:

  • Placing an Expedite Request over the phone, by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
  • Mailing the Request with the Receipt Notice and Supporting Documents to the Office processing your filing, which the office and address is located on the most recent Receipt or Transfer Notice.
  • Mailing the Request to the FIELD OFFICE likely to Interview the Filing (Option after Biometrics has occurred or if filing is ready for scheduling).

How to Request an Expedite Request at NVC:

Email a scanned request letter, with all relevant biographical information and case numbers, and with supporting documents to NVCExpedite@state.gov.

How to Request an Expedite Request at the DOS Waiver Review Division:

Email a scanned request letter, with all relevant biographical information and case numbers, and with supporting documents to 212ewaiver@state.gov.

How to Request an Expedite Request at the DOS Consular Division:

Email the Consulate/Embassy Directly.


If you require assistance with an immigration filing, please consider contacting our office to set up a consultation with our Immigration Attorney.

 

Related Posts:

2022 Military Immigration Option: Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI)

Military Naturalization: A Fast Track, but NOT Expedited

Parole in Place: Immigration Option For An Illegal Spouse, Child, Or Parent Of A Military Member

INA 319(b) Naturalization Option: Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed or Stationed Abroad

319(e) Naturalization: Overseas Naturalization Option for Active-duty Military Spouses and Children

 

 

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