We have noticed a slowdown in the processing of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) for employees who are waiting for approval of their Green Cards. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is taking the full ninety (90) days to approve the EAD and AP. This can complicate compliance, work authorization and travel for foreign employees. Typically, these employees have filed for adjustment of status (Form I-485) and renew annually their EAD and AP, without which they cannot work or travel. In many cases, their H-1B temporary visas have long expired. Note that employers who want to plan ahead still cannot file the renewal applications for the EAD and AP any earlier than 120 days prior to expiration. Finally, under immigration employment enforcement rules governing I-9s and E-Verify, the employee cannot continue working without actually having the new EAD card in hand. The receipt notice is not sufficient. Further, an employee who is no longer in H-1B status and who travels without the AP due to a family emergency back in his home country risks being found to have abandoned his Green Card application when the case is finally adjudicated.

Our HR Tip of the Month:

(1) Change your tickler system so that your renewals are filed 119 days in advance of expiration. (2) After 75 days have expired and you still have not received the EAD or AP, look into available procedures for monitoring or expediting the process. Do not wait until the EAD card has expired to initiate an inquiry. (3) Many employees are responsible for paying for renewal of the EAD and the AP under company policies. The danger is that employees may try to save money by renewing the EAD and not the AP, assuming that they will not be travelling. Invariably, a relative becomes ill requiring an emergency trip and costly intervention by legal counsel who spends hours trying to get USCIS to make an exception and expedite the AP. Do not allow your employees to remain in the United States in your employ without having in hand at all times a valid AP as well as the EAD.