It's no secret that USCIS is woefully behind on working through immigration petitions that have been submitted to it.
In the last two years and a half years USCIS has experienced a printing backlog that severely delayed applicants receiving their work permits and green cards, was sued in a class action lawsuit for its EAD (employment authorization document) delay, and Virginia's own Immigration Court was listed as having the third largest backlog of immigration cases in the nation.
By many accounts it takes just 12 minutes to actually process an EAD application once it is on the right person's desk at USCIS, yet currently multiple USCIS service centers are reporting EAD processing times of up to 13.5 months. In acknowledgement of the unnecessarily slow position it finds itself in, USCIS set backlog reduction goals and increased the automatic extension period for certain employment authorization renewal applicants.
In another attempt to quicken EAD processing times USCIS has announced that it will stop sending out “combo cards” - an EAD card that also gave the benefit of international travel through a process called advanced parole. The combo card was only available for people applying for adjustment of status (green card), and was only good while the applicant waited for the green card decision. Currently EAD permits and advanced parole documents are being decided in very different timelines, so USCIS has decided to sever them from one another in order to avoid a gap in applicants' employment authorization.
While it is often easier to combine petitions in an effort to streamline them, in this case we are hopeful that USCIS's goal of expediting the process by separating EAD cards from advanced parole permissions will succeed. Anecdotally, even after this announcement our clients are still receiving EAD/Advance Parole combo cards.
If you have questions about applying for a work permit or advanced parole please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.