Annual Reminders for Individuals – EAD and AP Dates

As explained in Annual Reminders for Individuals – Check I-94 Expiration Dates (06.Apr.2016), foreign nationals can avoid a number of serious immigration problems by being mindful of certain key dates related to their stay in the United States, such as the I-94 expiration date. Depending upon a person’s situation and status in the United States, there are other documents that may need to be examined, as well, such as advance parole documents and/or employment authorization documents (EADs).

Apply for AP and EAD if Eligible

Foreign nationals should regularly check the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin to determine eligibility to file an I-485 application, and to receive benefits like advance parole (AP) and the employment authorization document (EAD). Even if priority dates retrogress (move backward) before the I-485 can be adjudicated, there are many benefits to reaching the stage of I-485 filing. These include eligibility for AP and EAD, and, in some cases, the ability to make employment changes without disrupting or losing eligibility for approval of the employment-based green card case.

The AP is a travel document that permits a person with a pending I-485 to travel outside the United States and reenter to continue the I-485 processing. The AP is valid for multiple entries, and an individual may have a dedicated AP card, or may have a combination card that is used for both the AP and as an EAD. People who are eligible for this immigration benefit should always try to maintain an unexpired AP, even if it is just to serve as a backup travel document while working in H1B or L-1 status.

Check Expiration Date of AP

Those traveling abroad must return to the United States prior to the expiration date indicated on the travel document in order to be readmitted on AP. Therefore, foreign nationals who already have AP should double-check the expiration date on the document. AP extension applications can be filed up to 120 days prior to the expiration date of the existing document. These applications typically take up to 3 months for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process, but it is always recommended to file as early as possible to avoid problems due to unexpected delays. In the case of a true emergency, an AP sometimes can be issued at a local USCIS office on a same-day or expedited basis. However, this procedure is discretionary and most local USCIS offices strictly limit this option to extreme situations, such as the death or serious illness of a close family member. Any such emergency request needs to be thoroughly documented to have any chance of approval.

EAD and AP are Separate Applications

As discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, EAD and AP Renewal – Clarifications (05.Mar.2013), the application to renew an EAD (form I-765) is separate from the I-131 application for AP. Even if the individual has been issued a combination card that, as discussed above, can be used for both the AP and EAD, two separate applications must be filed to renew the card, one for AP and the other for EAD. The EAD should not be confused with the AP. The EAD and AP are two separate benefits, even if granted in a single document.

The EAD can be requested in a variety of different situations. One recent addition to categories eligible for EAD is H-4, in certain circumstances. This option is explained in USCIS FAQs Address Many H4 EAD Questions (Part I), (22.May.2016). However, AP eligibility is more limited and the discussion of AP in this article is solely for individuals who have filed the I-485 form.

Check EAD Expiration Date and Renew in Advance

EADs are issued in one- or two-year increments by the USCIS, depending upon the type of case. It is important to remember that work under the EAD is only authorized for the dates listed on the document. Filing an extension application does not grant work authorization while the case is pending. Rather, an approval is needed.

As with the AP, an EAD extension application may take up to 90 days to process, but can be filed as early as 120 days in advance of the current EAD expiration date. To avoid problems due to delays in receiving the EAD, it is always recommended to file as early as possible. Failure to file an EAD renewal application sufficiently in advance may result in an interruption in employment (or even dismissal). From time to time, the USCIS experiences large scale EAD processing delays. These situations are particularly difficult for those who have failed to file for EAD renewal sufficiently in advance of their EAD expiration dates. Efforts to address such EAD delays are covered in Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over EAD Delays (11.Jun.2015). Working without authorization is not a good remedy for this, as it can lead to serious immigration consequences, including potential denial of the I-485. Naturally, the best way to resolve this situation is to avoid it altogether by filing renewal applications promptly.


Given all the dates a foreign national must keep straight, now is a good time to set up a calendar that highlights deadlines and dates to take action or follow up to avoid immigration problems. Questions about one’s travel documents and EADs can be addressed by consulting with a Murthy Law Firm attorney.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.