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USCIS Policy Documents - Social Security, Application Form & Green Card

Navigating USCIS Policy Updates: EAD Eligibility for Those in Employment Visa Backlog

EAD Eligibility for Those in Employment Visa Backlog

EAD eligibility has exciting developments underway for H-1B visa holders and individuals in the queue for employment-based green cards! The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has instituted a policy update that enhances eligibility criteria for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) under “compelling circumstances.” If you’re amid the waiting period for your green card and experiencing bottlenecks due to visa backlogs, you may now be eligible to secure an EAD. This provision acts as a valuable lifeline in situations of adversity, such as losing your job or nonimmigrant status.


To qualify for an EAD under compelling circumstances, there are certain prerequisites to fulfill. Firstly, you must possess an approved Form I-140, also referred to as the “Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.” Secondly, you should be maintaining valid nonimmigrant status, such as E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1. Additionally, you should not have filed an adjustment of status application, and your immigrant visa’s priority date must not be current, as outlined in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. Lastly, both you and your dependents are required to submit biometrics and uphold a clean record.


Maintaining Employment Authorization During Uncertain Times

The USCIS has provided examples of situations that might be considered “compelling circumstances” to qualify for an EAD. These encompass instances like a critical illness or disability, which demands you to relocate for specialized care or affects your ability to continue your existing job. Also, if you’re in a dispute with your employer or if substantial harm is inflicted on you or your employer due to a job loss, you might be eligible for an EAD. Additional factors, such as having school-aged children or a mortgage, may also be taken into account.


Remember, an EAD granted due to compelling circumstances is renewable annually, but it does not renew automatically. It serves as a critical tool to navigate the period of uncertainty while you explore other long-term solutions, such as securing a new employer or transitioning to a different visa option.


Boundless is here to assist you in this journey by offering a customized visa plan tailored to every phase of the process, from form submission to your immigration interview. Navigating USCIS policy updates can be challenging, but with the right guidance, you can make the most of these changes and progress smoothly in your immigration journey.


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Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, the material on this site has been prepared for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or other professional advice, and its receipt does not constitute any type of attorney-client relationship. Never disregard the advice of your own attorney to discuss your particular case. 


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