As most employers and foreign nationals know, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) delays have prevented thousands of people from obtaining the new or renewed documents they need to prove that they are employment-authorized. EAD processing times have gone from the pre-Covid standard time of three months to almost twelve.
While USCIS has made several exceptions to the I-9 supporting documents that employees must provide, it also allows people working in certain positions to request that USCIS expedite their applications for employment authorization. Please see our forthcoming article on acceptable I-9 documents not listed on the official instructions.
As noted in the attached brochure from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, not all employment situations will be eligible to request expedited service. However, the brochure explains how to pursue such a request if your position or your employer fits the criteria. Generally, the situations for which USCIS will consider expediting an EAD application are:
- Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the applicant’s failure:
- to timely file the benefit request.
- to timely respond to any requests for additional evidence.
- Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons.
- Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States.
- Government interests (including urgent cases for federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor, DHS or other public safety or national security interests).
- Clear USCIS error.
- Healthcare worker with a pending EAD renewal.
We can assist you in evaluating whether you might qualify to request expedited EAD processing from USCIS and in preparing the appropriate documentation and letter to request it.