Can I Ask USCIS to Make a Quick Decision on My Citizenship Application?

USCIS will expedite processing of applications for naturalization for people whose SSI benefits are about to expire and might expedite processing for people in certain situations involving an emergency or an important government interest.

You might have heard that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sometimes guarantees a decision on an application with 15 days (via "premium processing") if you pay an extra fee. Unfortunately, premium processing is not available for applications for naturalization (U.S. citizenship).

Under certain circumstances, you can still ask USCIS to make a decision on your naturalization application as soon as possible ("expedite" your processing), however. USCIS might agree to move your application to the front of the line for the reasons described in this article.

Your SSI Benefits Are About to Expire

The one situation in which USCIS will definitely agree to expedite processing of your application for naturalization is where you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, those benefits will be cut off within a year if you don't become a citizen, and USCIS has had your application for four months already.

In this situation, you will need to tell USCIS that your SSI benefits are about to expire so it knows that it should expedite processing of your application. You can do this in person by making an InfoPass appointment, or by writing to your local USCIS field office.

Either way, you will need a copy of your most recent letter from the Social Security Administration indicating when your SSI benefits will end. Show or give a copy of that letter to USCIS, and explain that your SSI benefits will be terminated within one year or less and that your naturalization application has been pending for four months or more. Ask USCIS to "expedite" processing of your application.

Other Reasons You Might Merit Expedited N-400 Processing

USCIS may expedite processing of any type of application, including an application for naturalization, for any of certain reasons. It's up to you to convince USCIS that you have one of those reasons. If you don't, you have no chance. Even if you do, there's nothing in the law that requires USCIS to expedite processing of your application.

The reasons USCIS might be willing to expedite processing of your naturalization application are:

  • severe financial loss to you or your business if you don't become a citizen right away
  • any kind of emergency situation that requires that you become a citizen right away (like you are seriously ill)
  • "humanitarian" reasons (like a war is breaking out, but in reality there are few situations where granting you citizenship right away will prevent a person's suffering)
  • the Department of Defense or a government agency has requested that you become a citizen right away as a matter of national interest
  • USCIS denied your previous application for naturalization or has been delaying your current one by mistake, or
  • USCIS wants to expedite processing of your application for its own reasons, because it's important for USCIS to do so.

Making an Expedite Request to USCIS

To request expedited processing of your naturalization application, you can either call USCIS customer service (800-375-5283), make an InfoPass appointment, or write a letter to your local USCIS field office. Be ready to prove the reason you need expedited processing with documentation backing up your statements.

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