I am excited about the provisional waiver process, because I have been waiting for years to apply for a green card through my U.S. citizen husband. I am pregnant, however, and worried that my visa interview will be scheduled when I’m due to deliver or caring for a newborn. Is there any way to hurry the interview up? I am willing to pay extra.
Everyone applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a provisional or stateside waiver on Form I-601A is naturally eager for a quick decision so that the National Visa Center can schedule the visa interview at the consulate abroad. Although USCIS (as of February 2015) has never released its standard processing times for this application, the goal of the USCIS National Benefits Center is to make a decision within 90 days.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive a decision on your waiver application within 90 days, and it is not uncommon for USCIS to take longer than that to make its decision. Moreover, there is no guaranteed way to bring about quicker action by USCIS. Unlike with some immigration applications, no arrangement exists by which you can pay a “premium processing” fee to guarantee speedy handling of your I-601A stateside waiver application.
Your only hope is to make a request to have your waiver request “expedited.” Such requests are not granted very often. They require a very good reason for making the request, such as a medical, humanitarian, or similar emergency, or the possibility of severe financial loss to a business or a person. Pregnancy, particularly if it involves possible complications, is among the issues which U.S. immigration authorities have considered in other expedite cases – but again, nothing is guaranteed. This is a “discretionary” decision, meaning USCIS is free to make its own judgment about who deserves what.
To ask for an expedite, you can either submit a cover letter with your waiver application requesting the expedite, or send it later, via the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283.
With your expedite request, you will need to provide documentary proof of any facts that you are claiming. In your situation, for instance, you would need to provide a letter or records from your doctor verifying the pregnancy and detailing any expected complications that could make it difficult for you to travel later. Be aware that if the wait is already long enough, USCIS may figure that your child will be plenty old enough to travel by the time you are scheduled for a visa interview.
And in the meantime, the fact that you are in the U.S. and presumably with your U.S. spouse makes your case less likely to gain approval than that of someone who is separated from close family.