The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudsman reported that USCIS has reduced its capacity to print lawful permanent resident cards (green cards) and employment authorization documents (EADs) because of a hiring freeze at the cash-strapped agency.

Key Points:

  • USCIS expects the backlog in producing and issuing these documents to continue “for the foreseeable future,” the agency’s Ombudsman has confirmed. If USCIS employees are furloughed on Aug. 3, as planned, backlogs will increase.
  • The Ombudsman is sending weekly spreadsheets to USCIS of the backlog of applicants who have been approved but whose cards have not been printed.
  • Those who are experiencing a delay in receiving their green card or EAD may request assistance from the USCIS Ombudsman at:
  • Lawful permanent residents seeking proof of their status may request a “stamp of temporary evidence” in their passport by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 and making an appointment at their local USCIS field office.

Background: Last month, USCIS reduced its production of green cards and EADs after ending its contract with a company that printed the documents for the government. The agency said it planned to take production in-house by hiring more federal employees. USCIS has reported a $1.2 billion budget deficit since May, has frozen hiring and is scheduled to furlough 70% of its employees on Aug. 3.

BAL Analysis: EAD and green card applicants should anticipate lengthy delays in receiving their documents. BAL is closely monitoring the USCIS budget issues and their impact on processing and will report developments as information becomes available.

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

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