Asking USCIS to Speed Up Decision on Application for Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence (Form I-601A)

There's no premium processing option, but you may be able to request an expedited decision.

Question

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.

Answer

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 has never released its standard processing times for this application, its goal 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. Moreover, 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 often. They require a solid 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. (See 8 C.F.R. § 212.7(e).)

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 Contact Center 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.

In the meantime, if you are in the U.S. and presumably with your U.S. spouse, that could make your case less likely to gain approval than that of someone who is separated from close family.

For more about the application process, see How to Apply for Provisional Waiver of Three- or Ten-Year Time Bar.

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