AAO Processing Requests

Requests for Expedited Processing

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) generally processes appeals in the order that we receive them, but we will review expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. To request expedited processing, the applicant or petitioner must provide evidence that one or more of the following criteria have been met: 

  • 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:
    1. File the benefit request or the expedite request in a reasonable time frame, or
    2. Respond to any requests for additional evidence in a reasonably timely manner;
  • Urgent humanitarian reasons;
  • Compelling U.S. government interests (such as certain urgent cases for the Department of Defense, DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or
  • Clear USCIS error.

Requests for expedited processing of appeals may be included with the appeal. Expedite requests included with the appeal will be reviewed by the AAO.

For appeals filed with the AAO, any expedite request made after the appeal submission should be mailed or faxed directly to AAO. See the AAO Processing Requests and Contacting the AAO pages for more information.

Regardless of whether the expedite request is submitted with the appeal or afterward, the expedite request should include:

  • A cover letter clearly marked “EXPEDITE REQUEST”, and
  • Documentary evidence supporting the request for expedited processing of the appeal.

Requests for Oral Argument

The AAO generally adjudicates decisions based on the record of proceeding without oral argument.  However, the AAO may grant a written request for oral argument where a case involves an issue of law or fact of particular significance and the AAO determines that it would benefit from supplemental argument. Oral argument is granted at the discretion of the AAO.

The petitioner must request oral argument in writing either at the time the Form I-290B or Form I-694 is filed or at the time a supporting brief is filed. The request “must explain in writing specifically why oral argument is necessary.”  

If a request is approved, the AAO will notify the petitioner of the time, date, place, and conditions of the oral argument.  If the request for oral argument is denied, the AAO will notify the petitioner in the AAO’s written disposition of the appeal, motion, or certification.

Requests for a Copy of the Record of Proceeding

You may obtain a copy of the record of proceeding through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. For information on how to make a FOIA request, please visit the USCIS FOIA webpage. We generally will not take action on a case while a FOIA request is pending. However, filing a FOIA request does not extend timeframes, such as deadlines for filing appeals or motions, responding to requests for additional evidence or notices of intent to dismiss, or submitting briefs or supplemental evidence.

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