Lee & Garasia, LLC
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Work Permits Archives

USCIS Using Old Fingerprints | Work Permits Issued Before Biometrics

We have recently noticed that USCIS has begun using old fingerprints that were previously captured for a number of applications, particularly I-90s. This is welcome news given the interminable delays permanent residents are already experiencing waiting for their renewals to be processed. Interestingly, we have seen this practice carry over into I-765 employment authorization renewal applications. Traditionally, USCIS takes fingerprints before a work permit can be issued. Biometrics are usually scheduled within six to eight weeks after receipt of the application. However, in light of many Application Support Centers ("ASC") being closed due to COVID, the agency has begun using previously taken fingerprints to process the renewals. As far as initial applications, we have also seen some clients receive relatively fast approvals of their applications without having any biometrics taken yet. The fingerprint appointments appear to be coming later, post approval of the I-765.

Asylum Work Permits Denied for DWI and arrests

If applicants for asylum have not suffered enough legal setbacks within the past year, we have recently heard of work permits for asylum applicants who have had brushes with the law. The instructions for the I-765 Application For Work Authorization indicate that for category (c )8-which applies to asylum applicants--USCIS "may, in its discretion, deny your application if you have been arrested and/or convicted of any crime." In one case, we recently heard of an adverse decision regarding an individual who had a DWI and very minor traffic infraction on his record. Apparently, USCIS is applying a very elastic understanding of "crime" to include not only felonies and misdemeanors but essentially any type of violation or infraction. Moreover, one does not necessarily need to be convicted or found guilty by a judge in order to trigger a denial. A mere arrest can potentially invoke denial under USCIS's boundless discretionary powers, which does not bode well for immigration applicants in general given that asylum work applications are not the only types of applications where some measure of discretion is accorded to adjudicators.

Criminal Arrest Can Also Affect Work Permits | OPT and STEM

Unlike previous versions, the current version of the I-765 application for work authorization specifically asks about arrests. Under question number 23, which pertains to those who are applying under eligibility categories (c)(35) or (c)(36), the form asks: "have you EVER been arrested for and/or convicted of any crime?" (c)(35) relates to a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-based Immigrant Petition Facing Compelling Circumstances; and (c)(36) is for Spouses or Unmarried Children of a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-based Immigrant Petition.

Expect Processing Delays for Work Permits and Advance Parole

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.

Automatic Extension of Work Permits | What If EAD Expires While Renewal Pending?

For foreign nationals navigating our immigration system, one of the greatest sources of anxiety is the expiration of work authorization in light of USCIS's interminable processing delays, which have only increased during the present administration. Due to the sheer mass of information out there, some of which is outdated, the rules can not only be buried but also inscrutable. Fortunately, USCIS has released some guidance this year that clarifies which categories of work permits are eligible for automatic 180 day extensions while their renewals remain pending. The purpose of the policy is to prevent gaps in employment for those who have filed timely renewal applications before the expiration of their current employment authorization documents ("EADs"). The extension applies to I-765 renewal applications pending as of, and those filed on or after January 17, 2017. Eligible categories include the following:

How to Speed Up or Expedite My Work Permit Application

One of the most frustrating aspects of immigration practice is dealing with government delay-something which, more often than not, is a given these days. Family adjustment of status cases used to relatively quick, but we have noticed a significant lag in processing times recently. For all practical purposes, most people will have to patiently endure the wait until their case is adjudicated. Fortunately, the regulations do provide some interim relief in the way of work authorization: many adjustment applicants may apply for an employment authorization document ("EAD") on Form I-765 that will allow them to work legally and apply for social security numbers while their cases are pending. What happens, though, if the work permit application itself is taking an excessively long time to process? One of the most common questions we get is whether there is any way to speed up the process.

How Soon Can I Get My Immigration Work Permit Based On Marriage?

One of the most pressing questions that prospective permanent residents here in the US often ask is, "When Can I Start Working?" Within the context of family-based adjustment of status cases--which is what this is discussion is limited to--this topic is rife with misunderstanding. Many people, to their detriment, misunderstand the difference between applying for adjustment of status and being authorized to work.

New Rule Coming for H-4 Work Permits

bigstock-Work-Permit-Application-48439265.jpgIn February of 2015, USCIS announced that it would finally be implementing a rule that extends employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses. The expansion of work permission is part of President Obama's 2014 Executive Action on Immigration. While the expanded DACA and DAPA programs are currently on hold pending appeal of a Texas Court decision, this regulation is scheduled to go into effect May 26, 2015 and there has been no vocal opposition that should prompt any affected parties to worry that it will somehow be halted. There are a couple of salient points to be aware of, however:

H-4 Spouses May Soon Be Allowed to Apply For Work Permits

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced a proposal to allow certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1Bs to work with legal authorization. Under current regulations, H-4 dependents are not eligible for an Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). Given that most H-1B specialty workers are usually admitted for an initial period of three years, and more often than not, apply for a three year extension, their spouses often find themselves in the unenviable position of staying here in the US without being able to find meaningful work and contribute to their households. Not only has this proven to generate economic hardship for those H-1Bs already in the pipeline for permanent residence, it has actually deterred many skilled and talented workers from pursuing green cards here out of concern for their spouses. The government has finally recognized the detriment caused by the loss of these workers and proposed some interesting revisions that could affect an estimated 100,600 H-4 status holders in the first year of implementation alone.


    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

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