USCIS has announced that it now intends to issue a single document to cover employment authorization and travel authorization for certain applicants who are applying for lawful permanent resident status. This is a substantial change from the long standing USCIS policy to issue separate Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) documents.
The new combined EAD and AP document will be in the form of a card, very similar to the current EAD. This will do away with the need for the paper AP document, a document that has long been criticized for its lack of durability and security. The new cards can be used for both travel and employment authorization provided they contain text at the bottom of the card that reads, "Serves as I-512 Advance Parole." Only EAD cards with this designation will be acceptable for travel authorization as well as employment authorization.
To receive the combined EAD and AP card, the foreign national will need to file the application for the EAD (Form I-765) and for application for the AP (Form I-131) simultaneously, either concurrently or after the filing of an Application to Adjust Status (Form I-485). The fees for each application will remain the same. Furthermore, based on the availability of an immigrant visa number, the combined card will be issued for either one or two years and USCIS will still issue two separate documents in certain cases.
MS&K Remarks: Foreign nationals applying to adjust their status to permanent residence should take note of this new policy. Any foreign nationals wishing to obtain the new combined EAD and AP document are encouraged to file their applications concurrently. Additionally, this new policy in no way affects the employer's ability to continue accepting the EAD as a valid List A document on the Form I-9.