U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun “decoupling” the adjudication of employment authorization documents (EADs) and advance parole (AP) travel authorization in a bid to speed up EAD processing.

Key Points:

  • Typically, when an applicant requests both an EAD and AP, USCIS issues a “combination card” that covers both employment and travel authorization.
  • In recent weeks, USCIS has issued EADs that do not include AP travel authorization.
  • The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reported that the “processing change is intentional as the agency is working through the EAD backlog and is prioritizing EAD adjudication as it seeks to avoid applicants experiencing a lapse or prolonged lapse in employment authorization.”
  • USCIS has not provided information about how long this change in practice will remain in effect.

BAL Analysis: While USCIS typically approves EAD and AP simultaneously, the agency is not obligated to do so. The change in practice appears related to USCIS’ aim to issue EADs more quickly. Applicants who receive an EAD without AP travel authorization should consult their immigration counsel prior to any international travel. BAL will continue following this development and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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