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Stocksj01

Work Authorization - OPT expiration

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Hi all - My wife and I filed her GC application I-130/I-485 back in February of this year, and it's currently in the "Waiting to be scheduled for interview" phase. She has been working under her EAD she received through OPT which is set to expire in December of this year. We filed an I-765 to get her a new EAD under AOS at the end of July, we already received our confirmation letter and she has gone in for the biometrics exam - now we're just waiting on the actual decision. According to the USCIS Website:

 

The required times in which USCIS must make a decision on a Form I-765 are:

• Ninety (90) days of receipt of applications filed under categories other than asylum-based, or

• Thirty (30) days if filing for an initial EAD based upon a pending asylum case.

One exception to this rule is if USCIS requires initial or additional evidence. If initial is evidence is requested, the processing time will start from zero upon receipt of the requested evidence. If additional evidence is requested, the processing time limit is extended by the amount of time it takes for you to receive the request for evidence and respond to it. Also, the processing time is extended when a request for evidence is issued for any form filed concurrently with Form I-765.

 

...but now that we're heading in to October with no word since the Biometrics exam we're getting a bit jittery. Has anyone had any experience with this? What happens in terms of employment authorization if both the GC and AOS EAD are processing when her current OPT EAD expires? What options would we have in this case? We're in the DC Metro area if that makes any difference. Any advice or experiences are much appreciated - Thanks.

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It's only been two months since the end of July (~60 days), and currently EADs are getting processed later than 90 days.

 

http://www.visajourney.com/timeline/eadstats.php

 

Based on current estimates, I'm guessing that she'll receive and EAD in about two months (she'll be fine).

Edited by Suudsu
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DC area has average timeline of around 8-10 months, so I am sure it will be your turn soon. Also, you mentioned you applied to EAD on July, so I am quite sure new EAD based on AOS will be issued before then. Now it takes more than 3 months after fillling for EAD

 

But better safe than sorry because 

1) Having interview for AOS doesn't necessariy mean they are gonna approve your case at the spot, and it may take up longer than that, so it is much better convienent to have your EAD even if you are scheduled for the interviews to avoid any uncertainty and potential loss of finance and professional career path. 

2) Recently, USCIS announces starting October, 1st, all applicants based on Employment are also gonna be interviewed, which is usually waived interview cases, so the workload for USCIS to handle is rough road to go, and therefore, the average timeline of 8-10 months may not be true

(Because USCIS does not detail how they are gonna take care of interviews for employment-based applicants, many things will be undercovered and so does the timeline, unfortunately) 

 

So being that said, I would recommend wait until the end of September, and you contact your House Representative (if I am correct, there is no Senators from DC) to request your EAD/AP if you still dont hear by October. You will be able to find some standarized cover letters including what to send to the congressman's office. 

 

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34 minutes ago, xillini said:

DC area has average timeline of around 8-10 months, so I am sure it will be your turn soon. Also, you mentioned you applied to EAD on July, so I am quite sure new EAD based on AOS will be issued before then. Now it takes more than 3 months after fillling for EAD

 

But better safe than sorry because 

1) Having interview for AOS doesn't necessariy mean they are gonna approve your case at the spot, and it may take up longer than that, so it is much better convienent to have your EAD even if you are scheduled for the interviews to avoid any uncertainty and potential loss of finance and professional career path. 

2) Recently, USCIS announces starting October, 1st, all applicants based on Employment are also gonna be interviewed, which is usually waived interview cases, so the workload for USCIS to handle is rough road to go, and therefore, the average timeline of 8-10 months may not be true

(Because USCIS does not detail how they are gonna take care of interviews for employment-based applicants, many things will be undercovered and so does the timeline, unfortunately) 

 

So being that said, I would recommend wait until the end of September, and you contact your House Representative (if I am correct, there is no Senators from DC) to request your EAD/AP if you still dont hear by October. You will be able to find some standarized cover letters including what to send to the congressman's office. 

 

We're ok waiting for the interview as long as she can get a valid EAD to keep her working in the interim. She has a pretty lucrative career and if was forced to leave due to a hiccup in the visa process she would be devastated, not to mention we would be in a tough spot if we lost half our income. 

 

We're actually inside the beltway, but in VA - so we do have a senator to contact if needed. Im new to these forums - is contacting your senator regarding this issue common? As I said above - we're fine waiting as long as she gets a new EAD card. That being the case - would we really need to contact our senator or is letting the process roll on as it sufficient? 

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19 hours ago, Stocksj01 said:

We're ok waiting for the interview as long as she can get a valid EAD to keep her working in the interim. She has a pretty lucrative career and if was forced to leave due to a hiccup in the visa process she would be devastated, not to mention we would be in a tough spot if we lost half our income. 

 

We're actually inside the beltway, but in VA - so we do have a senator to contact if needed. Im new to these forums - is contacting your senator regarding this issue common? As I said above - we're fine waiting as long as she gets a new EAD card. That being the case - would we really need to contact our senator or is letting the process roll on as it sufficient? 

First and foremost, there are steps you can take before her OPT EAD expires and if you have not received an EAD or interview. She can request for expedited base on her job where she will be able to send employment letter and other supporting documents to USCIS..... Although with USCIS there is NO guaranty for any of their processes. The application of your senators should only come if your case is outside normal processing time.....as you will also get the generic answer.....

But in all, your case is looking fine couple with the fact that your field office doesn't seems to be too backlog for AOS... The National Benefit Center handling EAD is totally backlog. I have applied for renewal of my EAD since May 2017 three months before it will expire, still nothing from them...Only good thing is the automatic renewal that USCIS put in place for some categories.  

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I was in a very similar situation.  EAD expired in Aug but did not receive EAD in production update till Sept, which is over 120 days of processing time.  I spoke with an immigration attorney about my concerns. In short, if both her GC and AOS EAD are processing when her current OPT EAD expires, she cannot work (i.e., be legally employed by a US employer). But she is legally allowed to remain in the US because her GC and AOS are in process and she is the spouse of the U.S. citizen.

 

I did not file a USCIS expedition request because I didn't think halting/losing my current job was an emergency that would qualify under the expedition requirements.  My husband is able to support our family.  But there is probably no harm trying.  That said, any other service requests will most likely render you the standard response of "Your case is within the normal processing time [of 90 days]."

 

If your case goes beyond the 90 days, there are other actions you can take to hopefully speed up the process. But otherwise, it is a lot of waiting.

 

Good luck!

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3 hours ago, sweetadams said:

First and foremost, there are steps you can take before her OPT EAD expires and if you have not received an EAD or interview. She can request for expedited base on her job where she will be able to send employment letter and other supporting documents to USCIS..... Although with USCIS there is NO guaranty for any of their processes. The application of your senators should only come if your case is outside normal processing time.....as you will also get the generic answer.....

But in all, your case is looking fine couple with the fact that your field office doesn't seems to be too backlog for AOS... The National Benefit Center handling EAD is totally backlog. I have applied for renewal of my EAD since May 2017 three months before it will expire, still nothing from them...Only good thing is the automatic renewal that USCIS put in place for some categories.  

What type of files would qualify as supporting information? I suppose we could petition them to expedite the process based on personal financial hardship - her offer letter specifically states that her continuing employment is dependent on maintaining work authorization beyond 12/14 of this year. Would that be enough?

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54 minutes ago, Stocksj01 said:

What type of files would qualify as supporting information? I suppose we could petition them to expedite the process based on personal financial hardship - her offer letter specifically states that her continuing employment is dependent on maintaining work authorization beyond 12/14 of this year. Would that be enough?

Yes, that would be enough. Basically they want to see proof of job offer. Although it still depends on the officer handling the expedite request. 

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1 hour ago, sweetadams said:

Yes, that would be enough. Basically they want to see proof of job offer. Although it still depends on the officer handling the expedite request. 

According to the website:

C. Making an Expedite Request

To make a request to expedite the processing of a domestically filed application or petition, the customer should contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. The NCSC forwards the Service Request to the office with jurisdiction over the application or petition.

 

Customers may also visit a local office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment or writing a letter to the field office or service center. Applicants or petitioners outside the United States should submit their requests directly to the USCIS office with jurisdiction over their applications or petitions. For contact information for USCIS offices outside the United States, see the USCIS website.

 

Any ideas if we would need to fill out forms and bundle our evidence to mail to the office following our call or would they just need a detailed explanation over the phone? 

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21 hours ago, Stocksj01 said:

What type of files would qualify as supporting information? I suppose we could petition them to expedite the process based on personal financial hardship - her offer letter specifically states that her continuing employment is dependent on maintaining work authorization beyond 12/14 of this year. Would that be enough?

USCIS expedite request is CASE-BY-CASE. 

There are no guaranteed at all, but generally and typically,

petitioners need to prove why the cases are urgent. 

 

Being that said, when I requested EAD/AP expedite, I have attached

1) PayStub and joint bank account showing how much my paycheck is responsible for paying bills

2) Employer's letter specifically stating they would like to continue working with me beyond OPT EAD

3) Full time benefit eligiblity packages such as employer's healthcare, PTO, and 401K. 

4) My Supervisor's statement that without me under employment authorization, it will take hurdle to find another candidates

5) I-485 receipt and OPT EAD cards and F1 Visa Stamp

6) Cover letter stating why I continue working with this employer, and projected professional career growth

 

Couple of take-away points are 

1) USCIS, albeit it insists it is working for immigrants, is working for US citizens and tax-payers. So I highly emphasized the loss of employment would result in loss of generous employer's healthcare insurance, under which I as well as, more importantly, my spouse (USC) is insured, and potential fine penalty due to Obamacare. So the loss of employment due to USCIS's failure of timely process our case would severely hurt (again) not only me, but also more importantly my spouse(USC), whose healthcare record of visiting doctors are also attached to send. 

2) Sometimes they email you to send the documents to prove, but other times, they send USPS mail, which takes couple of business days. So after you request EAD/AP expedite, it is highly advisable to make a call to USCIS customer service center in order to know where to send your evidences for fax-proof on the next day. If you just happen to receive USPS mail from USCIS, it would result in just wasting your time and therefore delay the urgency. 

3) It is also recommendable to talk to your Senate or member of Congress. USCIS has its own unit specifically working for Congress (Congressional Liason officer). My common senses tell me that the Congressional Liason officer is a) highly elite officer or b) highly experienced officer because no government agency is sending their entry level employees to counterpart Congress members.

 

So Congressional Liason officer's is even greater than USCIS customer service L2 officers

Well, again my common senses might be wrong, but if USCIS customer service L2 officers are analogous traffic cops giving a tickets on the highway, Congressional liason officers are FBI or CIA, if not. 

 

I have requested Expedite my case on Day 1, and on Day 2, I made appointment to my State's Senator on Federal Congress, and handed over the very same documents in order to establish two-way track confirmations. Until Day 4th, I did not hear anything from USCIS, when I made a call to Customer service center and talk to L2 officer, who kindly told me where to send the fax-proof evidence, which I did. 

Around day 10th, EAD/AP card in production. 

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