USCIS has announced that it will issue an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) valid for a two-year period for individuals who have filed an Adjustment of Status application (I-485) but cannot complete the green card application process because the applicant’s immigrant visa number date retrogresses (i.e., actual demand for visa numbers exceeds forecasted supply). If an immigrant visa number is available USCIS will continue to issue the one-year EAD.
Individuals who have an approved I-130 petition (family-based green card) or I-140 petition (employment-based green card) may file an Adjustment of Status application (I-485) to process for lawful permanent resident status. Unlike immigrant visa processing, the I-485 application results in the issuance of a green card without the need to depart the U.S. In most cases an immigrant visa number needs to be available in order to file the I-485.
One advantage with the I-485 process is that an individual may also file for separate work authorization at the same time (i.e. an EAD). Unlike the TN visa, an EAD is not employer or occupation specific. But like the TN, it has a one-year validity period. The new two-year EAD rule provides a minor salve for applicants whose immigrant visa number date has retrogressed.