EAD Issued For Two Years

Good news

Adjustment of Status, Employment Authorization Documents and Processing Delays

One of the biggest problems that immigration clients have experienced over the last 4 years has been increasingly long processing delays. The pandemic certainly exacerbated this, but the problems existed pre-pandemic.

When a person applies for permanent resident status (green card) in the U.S., the application is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). This often is filed when a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national.  A person can also apply for AOS based on a petition approved by a U.S. employer after the Department of Labor has certified that no U.S. workers are available for the position. The current processing times for an AOS application being handled by the Miami Field Office is 12.5 to 40 months. The Kendall field office is showing processing times of 11 to 23 months.  A person is assigned to the office according to their home address. 

When a person files for AOS, it is usual to also apply for work authorization (EAD) so that the applicant can obtain a social security number and work before the AOS is approved. Until a few days ago, the EAD’s were issued for one year. With processing times for the AOS taking more than one year, it has been necessary to apply for an extension of the EAD while the AOS was pending. This created problems for many people and many employers. 

In 2020 USCIS received nearly 370,000 adjustment-related EAD requests and had to process extensions of the EAD for most all AOS applicants.  Within the last few days, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated their policy to increase the one-year validity of the EAD to two years. This means that USCIS has over 350,000 fewer EAD applications to process which frees their staff to handle other matters. This should reduce the processing delays for many people including, but not limited to, AOS applicants. 

There is still much improvement needed but this is an important step in the right direction. 

Linda M Kaplan
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