How Long Does the EAD Application Process Usually Take?
The waiting process for any application with the US government can be nerve-racking, but none is more so than the wait for immigrants seeking approval to live and work in the United States. While awaiting approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), hopeful immigrants working on US soil may risk losing their job and facing severe financial hardships. That is why it is important to understand the typical wait time for an employment authorization document (EAD) and know whether or not that wait can be potentially expedited.
In previous years, it commonly took between two and three months to hear back from USCIS about their decision on whether or not to approve an immigrant’s EAD application. That waiting period has dramatically increased in recent years. Now an applicant may expect to wait between eight and 15 months to hear back from USCIS.
Thankfully, there are ways to expedite the process.
Under What Grounds Might USCIS Consider an Expedited EAD Application Request?
USCIS only approves a set number of immigration visas each year (this number may be adjusted year-to-year). The wait for approval can be excruciating. During that time, the applicant may risk losing their employment status.
However, there is a way to file a request to expedite your application. Whether or not USCIS grants your request will depend on a number of factors.
USCIS reviews every request on a case-by-case basis and has the authority to deny or approve requests as they see fit. In certain circumstances, they may request additional documentation to help them make an informed decision about your request.
As granting your request means putting your application before others waiting for their turns, certain factors must be taken into consideration. The primary consideration that USCIS will focus on is whether or not the failure to grant your request will create extreme financial hardship for either you or your employers.
Suppose the company you are looking for employment authorization to work for can show that they will suffer severe financial losses or potentially lay off other employees. In that case, USCIS will definitely consider that as a point in your favor. In some cases, the financial hardships which might befall a single individual such as yourself may be enough to sway the USCIS’s decision.
EAD applicants in the medical field will most likely have expedited application requests approved because the US needs more doctors and nurses. Similarly, EAD applicants involved in humanitarian, non-profit organizations, of interest to the US government, and those in positions of considerable cultural significance are especially worthy of a request for an expedited application.
Additionally, if it is clear that the USCIS has made some error in the application process (it happens), then requesting an expedited decision on your application is encouraged.
How to File for an Expedited EAD Request?
There are a few ways by which you may be able to file a request for an expedited application for your EAD.
You may consider calling USCIS to file an expedited request, you may contact a congress member about your concerns, you may email USCIS, or you may submit a request through the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman. Contacting USCIS directly is likely your quickest solution, followed by speaking with your representative, and then submitting to the Ombudsman.
Contact USCIS Customer Service with an Expedited EAD Request
This may be the most straightforward method to file an official request. Simply call or use the USCIS’s live chat feature to speak to customer service. In this conversation, you will notify them that you wish to submit a request for expedited processing. The USCIS representative will then explain to you the criteria for making such a request.
You will then hear back from USCIS in approximately five business days with their decision. USCIS may require additional evidence to support your request.
Contact a Congressional Representative
An alternative route may be contacting the office of a senator or congressional representative to relay your request for an expedited EAD application.
Some political officials will be more than willing to honor your request and help out. Others, meanwhile, might not.
What is the CIS Ombudsman?
The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) serves as a liaison between civilians and USCIS. It is the Ombudsman’s duty to provide assistance to individuals and employers who are experiencing difficulties working with USCIS.
To request the Ombudsman’s help with your EAD application, you may submit form 7001 to their office. It may be worthwhile to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer for assistance.
Contact Our Law Firm to Schedule a Case Evaluation with an Experienced Immigration Attorney
It is normal to feel overwhelmed by the complexities and the stressful waiting periods involved with the US immigration system. The good news is that you do not have to go through this matter on your own. Several helpful resources and experienced legal professionals are available to help you reach the desired outcome.
At The Law Office of Kevin Dixler, our legal team has years of experience assisting clients with immigration law across the Chicagoland area. We are proud to help reunite families, secure employment authorization, and provide refugee status to clients in pursuit of the American Dream.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your EAD application, please contact our law firm to discuss your case in more detail. You may schedule your initial consultation by calling our law offices at 312-728-4610.