USCIS Now Taking 5 to 7 Months for Employment Authorization

Many people who apply for a green card need to be able to work or travel while they are waiting for their legal permanent residence status. You may have filed a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and a Form I-131 Application for Travel Document. When approved, these are issued on an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Under new policies, many applicants are waiting much longer for their EAD and have less ability to inquire about their case. 

Under the old policies, USCIS promised to process EAD cards in 60 to 90 days from the initial application. However, USCIS is now regularly taking 6 months or more to issue an EAD. Many applicants find they get scheduled for their green card interview before the EAD is approved. USCIS also used to respond to a service inquiry for an EAD after an I-765 application had been 75 days. USCIS has now confirmed to an immigration lawyers group that they will no longer accept service inquiries for pending I-765 unless the case is outside their normal processing times. For most people right now, that means you cannot inquire about your case unless it has been pending for 5 to 7 months.  

The only option remaining for applicants who desperately need work permission faster than 7 months is to request expedited processing, if they are eligible. 

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