On February 11, 2011, the USCIS announced that it would be issuing Employment Authorization and Advance Parole documents on a single card. The new card will be available to those persons filing applications for adjustment of status (form I-485).

The new card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but includes text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and advance parole document.

Click here to view the cards.

The USCIS issued the new card for two reasons: convenience and security. With the new card, adjustment of status applicants no longer will have to carry both an EAD and a separate paper Advance Parole document. Instead, applicants will only have to carry this one credit card-sized card. The new card is more secure and more durable than the current paper advance parole document.

The combined card is available when you file an application for employment authorization (I-765) and an application for advance parole (form I-131) concurrently with or after filing an adjustment of status application. You must file the Forms I-765 and I-131 at the same time in order to receive the combined EAD and Advance Parole card.

Based on the availability of an immigrant visa, USCIS will issue this card for a period of one or two years. USCIS may also in its discretion issue the card for a longer or shorter validity period, depending on the particulars of the case.

This is the tricky part: What happens if you already have an EAD and an Advance Parole document with different expiration dates? The USCIS says that you may only receive this new card if both documents have less than 120 days of validity left, or if the EAD has less than 120 days of validity left and the Advance Parole document is for a single entry only. And, under the rules, you may not file for the card more than 120 days before your current EAD expires.

The rules may make it impossible for people who have EADs and Advance Parole documents with differing expiration dates to apply for the combined card. The USCIS will continue to issue separate EAD and Advance Parole documents as warranted. For example, you will receive an EAD without permission to travel if you do not request Advance Parole.