Let’s analyze the following scenario: You filed your Green Card application with the USCIS and you simultaneously applied for an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) card (Form I-765) and for an Advance parole (Form I-131), so that you are able to work and travel outside the United States while your Green Card application is pending. After you received these document(s), you started working and perhaps you did not realize that these documents have expiration dates.
When can I receive a single card that serves as both work and travel authorization? How do I know when this card expires?
In 2011, the USCIS started issuing a single card that serves as both work and travel authorization, if you file your Green card application with the USCIS and apply simultaneously for an EAD card and Advance parole (ability to travel). Even though it may be confusing how this card serves as your travel authorization when this card is called “Employment authorization”, the fact that it states at the bottom “serves as I-512 advance parole” enables you to travel outside the United States while your Green card application is pending. The USCIS usually issues this card for a period of one or two years. You should check the expiration date of this card immediately upon receiving it in your mail. Keep in mind, that the validity period of your EAD card and Advance parole begins when they are adjudicated, and not when you receive them. If you received this combination EAD and Advance parole card, you can work in the U.S. and travel outside the United States until the expiration date on the card. The card does not automatically renew.
When do I receive EAD card and Advance parole as separate documents? How do I know these documents expire?
The USCIS may still issue an EAD card and Advance Parole as separate documents in certain situations. For example, if you only apply for work authorization or you only request travel authorization, or if one of the authorizations is declined, you will receive two separate documents. In such case, you would have to check the expiration days on both of these documents as they may differ. It is imperative to make sure you do not work without authorization and you do not abandon your Green card application when you travel outside the United States.
Renewing your EAD card
If you want to renew your combination EAD and Advance parole card, you should file both applications simultaneously and no more than 120 days before the expiration day of your current combination card. On the other hand, if you only want to renew your work authorization, you can file your new EAD application card up to 180 days before your current EAD card expires. The current wait time for adjudication of EAD and Advance parole documents is 4-6 months but this time is subject to change.
So what happens if you realize 2 weeks before your EAD card’s expiration day that it expires? Do you have to stop working until you receive your new EAD card? That could take several months (currently around 4-6 months). The answer is no: As long as the USCIS receives your EAD card application on or before the date your current EAD expires, your work authorization will be automatically extended for up to 180 days. This extension begins on the date your current EAD card expires and continues for up to 180 days unless your new EAD card application is denied. You should note that this automatic 180 extension of the Employment authorization only applies to certain categories and adjustment of status applications is one of these categories.
Renewing your Advance Parole
Unfortunately, there is no automatic Advance Parole extension and you will have to file your Advance Parole renewal in advance if you want to travel outside the United States while your Green Card application is pending.
Last year, the USCIS started denying the Advance Parole renewal applications that were pending while the person traveled outside the United States, even though the original Advance parole document was still valid at the time of travelling. This was happening in the following scenario: Your current Advance parole was about to expire in December, and you filed the renewal in August. You travelled outside the U.S. in October (while your Advance parole was still valid). USCIS denied the renewal application you filed in August because you “abandoned” it by travelling outside the U.S.
Recently, the USCIS changed this policy, and if you have an approved and valid Advance Parole and your renewal application is pending, you may travel on the original valid Advance Parole as long as it is valid for the entire duration of the time abroad and your renewal Advance parole should not be denied for the reason of abandoning it by travelling outside the U.S.
As stated above, you can file your Advance parole renewal at the same time as the renewal for EAD and if both of them are approved, you should receive one card that serves as work and travel authorization.
Do I have to pay for the renewals?
The other question we often get from our clients is whether they have to pay the filing fees for an EAD card (Form I-765) and Advance parole (I-131) if they want to renew them. The answer is no: if you filed your adjustment of status application on or after July 30, 2007 and you paid the adjustment of status filing fee, then you do not have to pay the filing fee for an EAD card ($410) and the fee for an Advance Parole ($575).
Please see more information about how you maintain your green card once you receive it when you click here.
If you are planning to travel outside the United States after you get your green card, please click here for more information to make sure you do not lose your green card.
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