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Expedited Processing of Biometrics in I-131 Cases

Originally published 12/24/2011

Form I-131 is used to apply for a travel document that allows a lawful permanent resident or applicant for lawful permanent residency to reenter the U.S. after temporary foreign travel. U.S. law requires LPR applicants for a travel document to be physically present in the U.S. when the application is filed. Once the application has been filed, the applicant may depart the United States, and the approved travel document can be delivered abroad. However, the application also requires biometrics to be completed, and as a practical matter, the applicant must be physically present in the United States to complete the biometrics. This has created problems for I-131 applicants because it often takes 90-120 days for the biometrics appointment to be set and completed.

On October 5, 2011, USCIS recently provided guidance regarding the procedures to obtain expedited processing of the I-131. Here is a summary of the guidance provided by the USCIS on expedited processing.

Review Expedited Processing Instructions on I-131 Form

If the applicant needs expedited processing, the Form I-131 instructions provide specific information for submitting pre-paid express mailers with your Form I-131 for USCIS to send your receipt and ASC appointment notice, as well as the completed re-entry permit or refugee travel document, if approved. A request for expedited processing should contain the applicant's reasons for such processing so that USCIS may determine whether he or she qualifies for expedited processing.

In addition, if the applicant must attend an ASC appointment in 14 days or less, the applicant may provide an email address or fax number, then the Nebraska Service Center will be able to fax the ASC appointment to the applicant. The ASC will accept a duplicate copy of the appointment notice.
If the applicant needs to expedite the I-131 after filing, then the applicant should contact the customer service phone number or make an INFOPASS appointment at their local office.

Criteria for Obtaining Expedited Processing of an I-131

The requirements for obtaining expedited handling of and I-131, which are set forth on the USCIS website, apply to all applications for which premium processing is not available. These criteria include:

• Severe financial loss to company or individual
• Extreme emergent situation
• Humanitarian situation
• Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States
•Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
•USCIS error
•Compelling interest of USCIS