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Step by Step Process for Expediting Advance Parole and EADs

Are you trying to find a way around slow USCIS processing times because of an unexpected situation? There is a way to get your immigration case reviewed more quickly. However, USCIS reviews expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. 

Background on Advance Parole (Travel Document) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

An advance parole document (also called an immigrant travel document) allows people with pending green cards to travel while they wait to become permanent residents. To submit an application for advance parole, file Form I-131 with USCIS and pay an associated filing fee.

An employment authorization document (EAD) enables certain foreign nationals to work in the U.S. legally. For instance, international students on an F-1 may be issued an EAD to work for an approved U.S. employer, or someone with a pending green card may be issued an EAD so they can work while their green card application processes with USCIS. To submit an EAD application, file Form I-765 with USCIS and pay an associated filing fee.

What is an expedite request?

Immigration applications can take months and even years to be processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In urgent situations, immigrants can request expedited processing for their pending application. Each request is reviewed by USCIS and granted on a case-by-case basis. 


The step-by-step process for expediting Advance Parole and EADs


1. Obtain your receipt notice

To expedite your case, you will need your receipt notice. The receipt notice will be sent to you or your attorney within a few weeks of filing your case. 

2. Identity your expedite request criteria

There are several criteria that USCIS will consider when reviewing your expedite request. The more clearly you can link your situation to one of these criteria, the higher your chance of approval.

  • Expedite Criterion 1: Severe loss to a company or person

USCIS will consider expediting a case in the situation that a company or person is at risk of severe loss due to delayed immigration benefits. 

USCIS gives some examples of when this criterion may be relevant:

"A company can demonstrate that it would suffer a severe financial loss if it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or having to lay off other employees. For example, a medical office may suffer severe financial loss if a gap in a doctor's employment authorization would require the medical practice to lay off its medical assistants.

Job loss may be sufficient to establish severe financial loss for a person, depending on the individual circumstances. For example, the inability to travel for work that would result in job loss might warrant expedited treatment. The need to obtain employment authorization by itself, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment. In addition, severe financial loss may also be established where failure to expedite would result in a loss of critical public benefits or services."

  • Expedite Criterion 2: Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons

USCIS may consider expediting cases for emergencies or urgent humanitarian reasons. 

USCIS gives some examples of when this criterion may be relevant:

"Examples may include, but are not limited to, illness, disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need to travel to obtain medical treatment in a limited amount of time. An emergency may include an urgent need to expedite employment authorization for healthcare workers during a national emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, an expedite request may be considered under this criterion in instances where a vulnerable person's safety may be compromised due to a breach of confidentiality if there is a delay in processing the benefit application. A benefit requestor's desire to travel for vacation does not, in general, meet the definition of an emergency."

  • Expedite Criterion 3: Nonprofits furthering U.S. cultural or social interests

Nonprofits can file expedite requests for their employees in certain situations. 

USCIS gives some examples of when this criterion may be relevant:

"Examples may include a medical professional urgently needed for medical research related to a specific social U.S. interest (such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other socially impactful research or project) or a university professor urgently needed to participate in a specific and imminent cultural program. Another example is a religious organization that urgently needs a beneficiary's specific services and skill set to continue a vital social outreach program. In such instances, the religious organization must articulate why the respective beneficiary is specifically needed, as opposed to pointing to a general shortage alone."

  • Expedite Criterion 4: U.S. government interests

If an immigrant's work is in the interest of a U.S. government entity, a senior-level government official can submit an expedite request to USCIS. USCIS says that expedite requests made by federal agencies must be "immediate and substantive."

USCIS gives some examples of when this criterion may be relevant:

"U.S. government interests may include, but are not limited to, cases identified as urgent by other government agencies, including labor and employment agencies, and public safety or national security interests.

If the request relates to employment authorization, the request must demonstrate that the need for a person to be employment-authorized is mission-critical and goes beyond a general need to retain a particular worker or person. Examples include, but are not limited to, a noncitizen victim or witness cooperating with a federal, state, or local agency who is in need of employment authorization because the respective agency is seeking back pay or reinstatement in court proceedings.”

3. Call USCIS's Contact Center

Call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 (for TTY disability, call 1-800-767-1833). Keep in mind that it might take a while to reach a representative. 

When you speak to a representative, clearly explain your situation (and specific expedite criteria) and ask to speak to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 officer. 

If you cannot speak to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 officer that can help you the first time, call back and start over.

The officer will give you an Expedite Service Request number that you can use to track your request online.

4. Submit Documentation 

Either during your call or via email, USCIS will ask for some documentation related to your request. Send the requested documentation to the email address given to you by USCIS.

5. USCIS Expedite Decision Adjudication

Often you will receive a response to your expedite request in less than a week, but it could be longer. You will be notified of USCIS's decision via email and on USCIS's case status online tool.

Alternative solutions if you cannot get your case expedited 

If an expedited request is unsuccessful, you may need to shift your strategy. Legalpad specializes in immigration law. If you’d like to explore alternative immigration paths, connect with our team today!



About the author:

Annie Blay

Content Marketing Specialist

Before joining the marketing team, Annie helped over 60 Legalpad clients navigate U.S. immigration on the client services team.