A November AILA practice alert has confirmed what many practitioners and clients have experiencing lately, namely an appreciable delay in the processing of work permit and advance parole applications. Nationally, people are reporting four to seven months to receive their employment authorization documents and nearly five months for advance parole. This is in stark contrast to how long USCIS used to take in the past (work permits in conjunction with adjustment of status applications only used to take three to four months). Why is this important? At the risk of overstating the obvious, these new delays significantly impact an individual’s ability to work legally as well as travel. It is critical to remember that unauthorized employment as well as travel without permission can have serious ramifications on a person’s application for adjustment of status.
Perils of Working Without Permission
An employment authorization document (EAD) is official government permission for a foreign national to work. Working without authorization can lead to several immigration problems, not the least of which is violation of one’s status as well as detection and removal from the United States. Additionally, unauthorized employment can lead to disqualification from adjustment of status under Section 245c of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under that provision, “any alien (other than an immediate relative as defined in section 201(b) or a special immigrant described in section 101(a)(27)(H), (I), (J), or (K)) who hereafter continues in or accepts unauthorized employment prior to filing an adjustment of status” is ineligible.
Traveling Without Advance Parole
Advance Parole, applied on form I-131, is also of tremendous import to many foreign nationals because it grants permission to a noncitizen to travel outside the United States without abandoning his/her adjustment of status application. Traveling without advance parole can trigger a number of detrimental effects including but not limited to:
· Abandonment and denial of an adjustment of status application for permanent residence
· Execution of a previous deportation or removal order
· Incurring the three and ten-year unlawful presence bars
Given these new delays, any foreign national potentially affected by these issues should consult with immigration counsel to explore options and possible strategies to expedite adjudication. The above is general information only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship nor should it be relied upon as advice in lieu of consultation with an attorney.