What to Do When Your EAD is Expiring But Your Case is Still Processing

Erick Widman

If you have filed for Adjustment of Status in the US (Form I-485), you most likely also filed Form I-765 and Form I-131 to apply for a temporary work permit and travel permit while your case is processing. These applications, once approved, grant you twelve months of employment authorization and the ability to travel internationally and re-enter the US before receiving your green card.

Twelve months of employment and travel authorization used to be more than enough time for applicants with pending I-485 cases. Unfortunately, due to Trump administration policies and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all case types are now taking longer than ever to process. As such, many people are finding themselves in the frustrating position of losing their ability to work with no green card approval in sight.

The good news is that, as long as your Form I-485 remains pending with USCIS (and no decision notice has been issued), you can continue renewing your EAD and Advance Parole travel document as many times as you need to. And even better news: you currently do not have to pay a filing fee for these renewal applications. However, be aware that USCIS has proposed changing this policy and that I-131 and I-765 applications that are filed with (or after) Form I-485 will likely begin carrying their own filing fee at some point in the future.

The forms to renew your Employment Authorization Document and travel permit can be filed as early as 6 months before your current cards expire. It is generally a good idea to file these forms as early as possible. Once filed, the receipt notice for your EAD application automatically extends your work authorization for 180 days.

When filing your new forms, make sure to include a copy of your I-485 Receipt Notice and to submit the forms to the proper USCIS lockbox, which you can confirm on the USCIS website. For all cases with a pending I-485, the eligibility category should be listed as (c)(9).

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