After receiving numerous complaints that USCIS is not adjudicating applications for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) within 90 days nor granting interim EADs as required by regulation, the USCIS Ombudsman made a number of recommendations to USCIS.
- Adhere to regulations that state USCIS shall issue EADs within 90 days, or issue interim EADs, to prevent unnecessary loss of employment;
- Expeditiously provide information to the public stating the cause of EAD processing delays and how the delays will be addressed;
- Ensure USCIS provide consistent guidance to the public regarding EADs pending more than 90 days via the National Customer Service Center toll-free number and local offices; and,
- Reconsider Ombudsman recommendation FR2006-25 to issue multi-year EADs.
The Ombudsman also suggests that USCIS consider the following operational procedures to issue interim EADs when applications are pending over 90 days:
- Modify USCIS I-797 Receipt Notices for Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to provide for employment authorization while the I-765 is pending; and,
- Affix fraud proof stickers to expired EADs upon determination of an applicant’s eligibility for an extension.
In a preliminary response to these recommendations, USCIS informed the USCIS Ombudsman that it will immediately:
- Audit its caseload to determine which cases have been pending for more than 70 days,
- Process service requests at 75 days rather than 90 days, and
- Adjudicate EADs that are outside normal processing times within four hours for customers that appear at local offices.*
* NAFSA has contacted USCIS headquarters for more information on the process. In the interim, NAFSA advises that individuals interested in requesting expedited processing through the local field offices make an InfoPass appointment.
The USCIS Ombudsman's office also posted a review of steps that can be taken by applicants for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) whose applications have been pending for more than 90 days.
For NAFSA-specific case assistance, see Immigration Resources for International Student and Scholar Advisers.