Many foreign nationals need a work authorization to be able to legally work in the U.S. The timeline for the work authorization (EAD) adjudication depends on under what immigration category you are applying, but it’s currently generally taking USCIS several months to adjudicate these petitions.
We often get asked: what can I do to speed up this process?
1. You can file an expedite request with USCIS
You could file an expedite request with USCIS if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of your failure to:
- File the benefit request or the expedite request in a reasonable time frame, or
- Respond to any requests for additional evidence in a reasonably timely manner;
- Urgent humanitarian reasons;
- Compelling U.S. government interests (such as urgent cases for the Department of Defense or DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or
- Clear USCIS error
USCIS considers the expedite requests on case by case basis and USCIS officers have discretion to grant/deny these requests.
Please note that if you are applying for a combined work and travel authorization card, then approval of one of the category – either authorization to work or authorization to travel) would mean that your combination card (for both work and travel) is approved.
Please see our blog about Expedite processing when you click here.
2. If your case is outside the normal processing time, you can file an e-request with USCIS
If your case is outside the normal processing time, you could submit what is called an
e-request. You can file an e-request on USCIS website and you should include information such as your receipt number, type of form, your name, date of birth, or your A-number. Please note that you can only file an e-request once your case is outside the normal processing time. Please read our blog post on how to find out What is the current standard processing time for a work authorization petition here.
Please note that sometimes, USCIS may get back to you and indicate that they need more time to process your case and may not give you an immediate approval/answer why your case has been pending for a long time.
Sometimes calling USCIS over the phone may be more helpful. Additionally, if your case has been outside the processing time for several weeks/months, it may be worth asking to speak with a Tier 2 officer as well to get some more information on your case.
3. Certain EAD categories are eligible for an automatic work authorization renewal
Please note that certain categories of non-immigrants are eligible for automatic work authorization renewal. You can read our blog post on automatic work authorization extension here. Unfortunately, E-2 spouses are not eligible for automatic work authorization renewal.
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