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Executive Summary:

  • Q: Is there anything I can do to speed up the I-130 processing time at this juncture?
  • Q: Is there any way my wife and son can return to the U.S. for a short period?

Overview

I filed the I-130 to petition for my wife and son, accepted on July 24, 2019. The USCIS website says that the processing times are currently 6.5 to 8.5 months for a U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21.

Last week I called my congressional office, filled out the necessary paperwork, and requested that the USCIS expedite the petition for my wife and son, on the grounds of financial hardship. Unfortunately, my request was swiftly denied. The response said the following:

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your inquiry on behalf of your constituent requesting expedited processing of their Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

USCIS records indicate that your constituent’s Form I-130 was received to the Potomac Service Center on July 24, 2019 and is pending pre-processing and background checks. Your constituent’s expedite request was reviewed and denied. Information regarding expedite criteria was last updated on May 10, 2019 and is posted on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms/expedite-criteria.

Your constituent’s application will be processed within the normal USCIS processing times, which can be located on the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

Please let our office know if you have any additional questions.

I understand I can appeal or try again if I can file additional paperwork to support my claim. I won't go into too much detail on this but I was laid off in early May 2019 and have not yet been paid for April 2019. I found a new job but I am deep in debt and struggling to pay off bills, beginning to roll over credit card debt, and incurring expensive living in the UK due to the short-term nature and inability to properly plan with the uncertainty of the Visa timing.

The expedite criteria have the following to say:

USCIS may consider an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure to: File the benefit request or the expedite request in a reasonable time frame, or Respond to any requests for additional evidence in a reasonably timely manner;

Urgent humanitarian reasons;

Compelling U.S. government interests (such as urgent cases for the Department of Defense or DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or

Clear USCIS error.

When considering severe financial loss to a person: If the expedite request relates to an application for employment authorization or student status, the need to obtain employment authorization or student status, standing alone without any evidence of other compelling factors does not warrant expedited treatment.

All expedite requests claiming severe financial loss, regardless of the immigration benefit sought and regardless of whether the claimed loss is to a company or a person, must be documented to establish the loss and that the requestor is not able to withstand the temporary financial loss that is the natural result of normal processing times.

That last part is of particular interest to me: the requestor is not able to withstand the temporary financial loss that is the natural result of normal processing times. I think that describes my situation very well. I'm looking at waiting another 4.5 to 6.5 months right now while my wife and son are living in the UK. I don't think I will be able to afford another 4.5-6.5 months of this. I am crashing at my friends place and my wife is floating around from short-term accommodation to short-term accommodation because she can no longer stay at her mother's house due to mustiness and mold. Even more importantly, I'm extremely worried about the emotional and psychological toll this is taking on my 3-year old son.

So some final questions:

  1. Is there anything I can do to try and speed up the processing of my Immigration forms?
  2. Are there any forms I can file so that my wife and son can re-enter the U.S.? She is unable to enter the U.S. on an ESTA because we were married in March 2019.

I know it was an egregious error on our part for her to leave the country after getting married in the U.S. but without a Visa, but I can't go back and change that now. She returned to the UK shortly after I lost my job and I was pleading with her to move in with my parents but she preferred to go back to the UK. I knew it would be bad if she returned without a Visa but I did not realize it would be this difficult to sort everything out.

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  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a question about bureaucratic procedure, not the law or legal process. – Nij Sep 22 at 1:35
  • Okay. thanks for the reply. Do you have a better idea of who or where I should pose this question to? I assumed an immigration lawyer would know a lot about this subject and be able to help. – Scott Skiles Sep 22 at 1:57
  • If you want an immigration lawyer, get one. This is not a place for seeking legal advice. – Nij Sep 22 at 2:02
  • I've sought the help of three immigration lawyers previously. Every time they did not want to take me on as a client due to the ambiguous nature of the legality of various routes for securing a Visa. – Scott Skiles Sep 22 at 3:05
  • These seem like very reasonable questions to ask on this site, no? So some final questions: Is there anything I can do to try and speed up the processing of my Immigration forms? Are there any forms I can file so that my wife and son can re-enter the U.S.? She is unable to enter the U.S. on an ESTA because we were married in March 2019. – Scott Skiles Sep 22 at 3:06

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