EAD Expedite Process: Getting Work Authorization Faster (I-765)
Eager to start working in the United States? Good! We need more tax payers in this country. Normally, the employment authorization document (EAD) processing is pretty quick. But sometimes, you’ll need to request an EAD expedite if too much time has passed since submitting your application.
If you’ve submitted the adjustment of status (form I-485) to USCIS and are still waiting for your green card interview, it’s likely that the EAD will be processed within 90 days.
What happens if there is delay in processing the EAD card?
Well, if you’ve ever dealt with U.S. immigration, you’ll know that processing delays are the norm. In my case, when I applied for my adjustment of status it took less than 70 days to get my EAD card.
I’m not saying that everyone should get their work authorization this quickly but generally it shouldn’t take more than 90 days.
Ramit applied for Adjustment of Status (I-485) 6 months ago and he included the work authorization form I-765 with it. He is beginning to get concerned about the delay in getting the work permit approved.
Since it has been more than 90 days since he submitted form I-765, it’s time that you follow up with USCIS to get an update and possibly request an expedite.
Do You Qualify For EAD Expedite?
When requesting an expedite from USCIS, you have to provide that you qualify for one of their expedite criteria. They will then consider the evidence you provide on a case-by-case basis.
There are no guarantees of approval even if you submit really strong evidence for expedite.
- Severe financial loss to a company or person
- An emergency situation
- Humanitarian reasons
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interest of the United States
- A Department of Defense or national interest situation
- USCIS error
- Compelling interest of USCIS
The most common reasons for expedite that I’ve seen are for emergency reasons and financial loss. The burden of proof is on you, though.
Immigration officials have the final say on whether you’ve made your case and if they should grant you expedite.
Jolie came to the U.S. on a K1 fiance visa and has recently applied for adjustment of status. She was hoping to get her EAD card quickly as she has already gotten several employment offers.
After 90 days of waiting, she decides to request EAD expedite processing. She submits documents to prove an emergency situation. Her new husband has been diagnosed with brain cancer and she needs to work to help pay for his medical expenses.
She included medical records as well as financial hardship documents.
In the case above, Jolie can try to prove both financial and emergency reasons for the expedite. Including a personal statement as well can be helpful. But remember, the most important evidence you can include are things that can’t be disputed.
This can include statements and documents from professionals such as doctors, psychologists, bankers etc.
Requesting An EAD Expedite From USCIS
In most cases, you can only request an EAD expedite once you submit the petition to USCIS. Unfortunately, you can request an expedite with the petition.
Step 1: Get your receipt notice from USCIS
Before applying for an EAD expedite, you must have your receipt number (or case number). After submitting your petition, it can take 1-2 weeks to receive the first notice of action (NOA1) confirming that USCIS has received your petition.
Once you have your receipt number, you’ll need to include this in your expedite request so they know which case you are requesting expedite for.
Step 2: Request your EAD expedite
- Call customer service to request EAD expedite.
- The easiest way to request an expedite is to call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 to submit it by phone. That’s not all though. You still need to submit evidence for your expedite so this is just the first step.
- Send a letter of expedite to USCIS field office.
- Another option is to send your EAD request in writing. You can download a sample expedite letter here and edit it to meet your needs. (You’re welcome!)
- Schedule an InfoPass to request EAD expedite.
- Finally, you can go to your local USCIS field office to request the expedite in person. This may be the most time-consuming option but it can help to sit down with an immigration official to ask all the questions you may have.
Step 3: Include supporting evidence
Just submitting the EAD expedite request isn’t enough. You must include supporting evidence showing that you qualify to expedite your petition.
USCIS gets a lot of expedite requests that are pretty ridiculous. Think about it, everyone wants their case processing faster and to be able to get their work permit or green card even faster.
But surely, they can’t approve everyone who feels that their case is special and should skip ahead of the line.
EAD Expedite Request Procedure
After submitting the expedite request, it will be routed to the local field office that has your petition. They will review your EAD expedite and supporting evidence to make a decision.
Unfortunate, there is no exact time frame of how long the expedite review will take but generally it shouldn’t take longer than a few weeks.
EAD expedite approved
If your expedite request is approved, you’ll likely get a notice in the mail and copy of your brand new work permit! Congratulations, you can now accept any job offers that were dangling over your head.
If you’re just starting your employment search, you can confidently say that you are authorized to work in the United States.
EAD expedite denied
If your expedite request is denied, your case will processed as usual. You won’t be able to skip ahead of the line and it can take about 90 days to approve. If it’s been longer than 90 days, contact customer service to get an update.
After 90 days, they will probably just tell you to wait another 30-60 days before inquiring about your EAD again.
Lenny is waiting for his adjustment of status application to be approved but he has a job offer that he desperately wants to accept. His American wife is pregnant and she was put on bed rest by her doctors which means she had to quit her job. They have no income coming in and will be evicted at the end of the month if they don’t pay their rent.
Lenny considers submitting an expedite request based on their pregnancy and financial hardship. He submits statements from their doctor about his wife’s bed rest requirement and their bank statements.
I’m sure you’re thinking that this is probably a good reason to expedite the EAD processing for Lenny’s case. But, it’s really not. USCIS doesn’t care whether you are pregnant or can’t pay your rent. These are situations that many people face and isn’t extreme enough to warrant an expedite.
Final Thoughts On EAD Expedite Requests
Getting an EAD expedite request approved isn’t rock science. You can definitely put together a strong case for it yourself. But, if you’re not comfortable doing all the paperwork yourself, I offer 1-on-1 support to help you put together a strong expedite request.
By following the steps above, you give yourself a much better chance of approval. Most people don’t understand the expedite criteria and end up wasting time submitting a really wake request that gets denied.
An approved expedite request will not only allow you to work in the United States faster, but you can use it as proof to get a drivers license in some states.
So, what’s the worst case scenario? Well, your EAD expedite request is denied and you wait just as long as you would have if you didn’t submit the request.
If you think of it this way, you really won’t loose anything if you submit the expedite request other than the time it takes to gather and put together the supporting evidence.