USCIS Delays in EAD Processing and Possible Options25 Mar 2015
The USCIS Service Center Operations (SCOPS) participated in a March 4, 2015 teleconference with members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), during which a number of key immigration concerns were addressed. One topic of particular note to many stakeholders is that of ongoing delays in the processing of applications for employment authorization documents (EADs).
Immigration regulations require the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process EAD applications within 90 days. Typically, the USCIS is able to meet this requirement. However, in recent months, the agency has failed to process many of these applications within the prescribed timeframe.
These delays are causing serious problems for many who rely on valid EADs for work authorization. An EAD is only valid once it is approved; it is not enough to have a request for an extension or renewal pending. The Murthy Law Firm has recommended that the government change this policy and allow “…EAD extension applicants to continue employment based upon the I-765 receipt notice.” For the time being, however, once an existing EAD expires, the applicant typically will have to cease working until the renewal application is approved.
USCIS Aims to Improve EAD Processing by Mid 2015
SCOPS advised AILA that it is “…very aware of the delays and is working to address the issue with affected service centers.” To that end, SCOPS is increasing the number of officers responsible for EAD adjudications and expects that this will serve to reduce the number of cases that take longer than 90 days to process within a few months.
Follow up on EADs After 75 Days
SCOPS confirmed to AILA that applicants are still permitted to follow up by telephone with the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) regarding EAD applications that have been pending for 75 days or longer. As of the time of this writing, it is not yet possible to submit such follow up requests via the USCIS e-Request system. More information on inquiring with the USCIS about a delayed EAD application is provided in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, EADs Delays: Filing and Follow-Up Suggestions (17.Sep.2014).
Recommendation: File the EAD 120 Days Before Expiration
EAD renewal applications typically can be filed up to 120 days prior to the expiration of one’s existing EAD. In light of the ongoing delays, the Murthy Law Firm recommends that applicants take full advantage of the 120-day filing window.
The Murthy Law Firm fully recognizes just how important it is for foreign nationals working in the United States to avoid gaps in employment authorization. This can have a devastating impact financially. MurthyDotCom will continue to track this story and post updates if and when additional information is provided.
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