EAD Delays and What You Can Do About It
So you filed your I–485 and have been patiently waiting for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). It’s now been 75 days or 90 days or longer and you still have not received your EAD. What can you do? The first thing you should know is that you are not alone. USCIS is behind in producing the EAD cards and more and more are taking around 90 days or longer. Second, you should remember as well that USCIS’ own regulations state that they will provide the EAD for those who have filed an adjustment application within 90 days, otherwise, so they state, they will provide a temporary EAD until they can produce the actual EAD.
What Steps Can I take to Try to Make Sure My Case is Handled Within 90 Days?
The first step you can take is at the 75 day mark. Once the case has been pending for that long, you can initiate a service request. You can either call 1–800–375–5283, or you can use the e-request system. What is suppose to happen is that once you put in such a request, USCIS will give your case priority treatment and, hopefully, will adjudicate the case within the 90 day framework.
The second step you can take is the same as the first step – put in a service request if the 90 day period is exceeded. Unfortunately, while under their regulation USCIS is suppose to provide a temporary EAD if they exceed 90 days, in practice, they no longer follow that regulation and, actually have no way of providing such a card. Therefore, unless you are willing to bring a lawsuit against USCIS, putting in a service request (or using a Senator or Representatives office to put in such a request) is the only real form of relief.
Can I expedite My EAD Case?
Many people do ask us if there is some type of expedite processing for EADs. While there is such a process, it is very hard to qualify for such an expedite. USCIS criteria to grant such a request are: severe financial loss to the company or person; emergency situation; humanitarian reasons; nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States; Department of Defense or national interest; USCIS error; or compelling interest of the USCIS. The USCIS tends to review expedite requests very closely and typically will grant such a request only if it is accompanied by strong evidence. It is also important to remember that simply not being able to work because you will not have the EAD is NOT “severe financial loss”. This is what will happen to every person whose EAD is not granted in 90 days. Therefore you need to show more than just the inability to work (being turned out of your apartment or loosing your house, etc. We should also point out that, in our experience, sometimes asking for the expedite after you have already filed the application can actually make the case take longer than it would have had the expedite not be requested – so if you are going to ask for an expedite it should be done at the time when you actually file the application, to avoid such an issue.
We do understand that the inability to work is a hardship to anyone who faces such an issue. Therefore, if you have any questions, or if you are facing an issue with your EAD not being granted in a timely manner, please feel free to call and we are happy to help.