Aliens applying for a green card in the United States through adjustment of status need to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) to work in the U.S. Current regulations allow for aliens to obtain an interim EAD card when the original EAD application is pending for more than 90 days.
Question: How does one apply for an interim Employment Authorization Document?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required by federal regulations to decide an application for employment authorization I-765 (EAD) within 90 days from the date the EAD application is received. Generally speaking, the USCIS takes anywhere from 45-90 days to make a decision on a filed EAD. Under current regulations, if USCIS does not decide the application by the 90 day deadline, federal regulations instruct USCIS to issue an interim Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is valid for up to 240 days. This allows the alien to work when USCIS has otherwise failed to meet its statutory and regulatory obligations.
As a Columbus Ohio Immigration Lawyers, our clients request clarification regarding the procedure for obtaining interim Employment Authorization Documents. Presently, interim EADs are issued by USCIS service centers. Since 2005, USCIS local offices no longer issue interim EAD cards. The local offices used to issue interim EADs upon an in person request by the application. This is no longer true. The below procedures govern the process by which an applicant can obtain an interim EAD allowing the alien to take up employment in the U.S. faster so that he/she does not have to wait for a slow moving bureaucratic governmental agency.
Procedure for Obtaining an Interim EAD Card:
- Make an Info-Pass Appointment. If USCIS has not adjudicated the employment authorization application (I-765), or issued an interim EAD by day 90, an alien is required to make an Info-Pass appointment at the nearest USCIS local field office. Click here for further information on scheduling the appointment.
- USCIS field office CLAIMS Evaluation. After the info-pass appointment has been scheduled, the USCIS local office will perform a Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) evaluation. This ensures that the original I-765 EAD application is still pending and unadjudicated, that there is no request for evidence (RFE) on file regarding the application (which effectively restarts or tolls the 90 day period), and the applicant has undergone his/her biometric fingerprinting.
- The applicant must have completed a biometrics appointment. The CLAIMS verification will determine whether the applicant has undergone fingerprinting. If they have not, the USCIS local office will refer the applicant to obtain biometrics at the USCIS Application Center (ASC). The applicant must have his/her biometrics completed to obtain an interm EAD.
- Case refered to USCIS Service Center. After the CLAIMS verification process is complete, the local office will contact the Service Center with jurisdiction over the applicant’s U.S. residence. At this point, the Service Center will be responsible for adjudicating the interim EAD.
- Call 1-800-375-5283 if the interim EAD is not issued by the Service Center by the time the applicant appears at the local office. The applicant may make a status inquiry via telephone to the Service Center while in the local office. All inquiries should be responded to within 30 days.
Question: What are the documents needed for obtaining an interim EAD
In order to obtain an interim employment authorization document the applicant should bring the following items to the USCIS Info-Pass appointment:
- A new, completed Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765);
- The original Notice of Action (Form I-797) notice of receipt of the underlying pending EAD (I-765) application
- The original Notice of Action (I-797) receipt notice for the underlying pending application which gives rise to the employment authorization such as a green card application receipt notice (I-485) and/or petition for alien relative (I-130 approval notice);
- The applicant needs all present and past passports and Form I-94s;
- Two passport-style photographs according to these specifications;
- Proof of U.S. residency, such as state issued photo ID or driver’s license (for proof of USCIS office jurisdiction); and
- All current and expired EAD cards issued to the applicant.
Question: What happens when USCIS has issued an RFE on the pending application for employment authorization (I-765)? Can you still obtain an interim EAD?
A request for evidence (RFE) affects the applicant’s eligibility for an interim EAD depending on the type of evidence requested in the RFE. If the RFE seeks “initial evidence”, i.e., evidence mandated under federal regulations in order to obtain employment authorization, then USCIS will restart the 90 adjudication timeline. The evidence requested must have been required to obtain the EAD from the get go. Once the evidence has been gathered and the RFE has been responded to, USCIS will start the 90 adjudication clock over upon receipt of the response. Therefore, it is a must to make sure you submit all required evidence up front so that the 90 day clock does not get reset.
But, if the RFE seeks evidence not required under federal regulations, the USCIS will “toll” the 90 day deadline until it receives the RFE response, at which point USCIS will resume counting at the point that the clock was interrupted by the RFE. Tolling simply means that the 90 clock will be suspended at the point the RFE was issued (say at day 46). If the RFE is responded to 14 days later, the clock will be “tolled” for those 14 days and counting will begin again at day 47 upon receipt of the response to the RFE.
Call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Today
If you are currently applying for a green card (Form I-485) and have sought employment authorization EAD in connection therewith and have not received your EAD within 90 days of receipt of the application, please call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA for help in obtaining an interim EAD. Our firm handles all employment-based and family-based green card applications, EADs and advanced parole as well as naturalization, citizenship, deportation and removal, and immigration litigation. Call today at 614-255-4USA.