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maisfree

Seeking advice: No AOS EAD yet and current STEM OPT extension EAD expiring next month

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Hi all,

 

I am currently on F-1 on STEM OPT extension with EAD expiring on Feb 24 2020. I filed for AOS (and a new EAD) thru marriage to a USC spouse in August last year, and still waiting for a new EAD (151 days as of today). Since my current STEM OPT extension EAD expires in a month or so, I am starting to freak out. I have not told my supervisor at work just yet since I do not want to cause any panic. 

 

Here is my timeline:

Concurrent filing of I-485/I-130/I-131/I-765 received 8/6/19

Biometrics done 9/10/19

I-765 status changed to "case was updated to show finger prints were taken" 9/10/19

I-485 status changed to "case is ready to be scheduled for an interview" 12/13/19

 

Is there anything I can do to prepare for a scenario where my current EAD expires before the new EAD comes? From the EAD approval timeline on VJ, USCIS website and Trackitt, the processing time seems pretty variable so I feel it is hard to predict what's going to happen.

 

Is it worth it to apply for an Expedite Request??? Or should I continue to sit tight hoping for the new EAD approval soon? 

 

Thanks for all the input & help in advance!

 

Mai 

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No harm requesting an expedite. You can do so with a job offer / contract (your current job would be fine). No guarantees, but no harm.

 

If your EAD expires, you would no longer be authorized to work until the new EAD is approved.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/16: sent

12/14/16: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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12 hours ago, geowrian said:

No harm requesting an expedite. You can do so with a job offer / contract (your current job would be fine). No guarantees, but no harm.

 

If your EAD expires, you would no longer be authorized to work until the new EAD is approved.

 

@geowrian Thank you for your reply. I am seriously considering to request an expedite. However, I have seen that the conditions for EAD expedite request approval have gotten more restricted recently, and most requests even with potential job loss have been denied. I also saw that submitting a request thru congressperson *might* increase the chance of approval, but I also read some cases it didn't make any difference.

 

I see your point that it would at least not harm my case and is worth a shot... I can't just sit and not do anything. I can at least tell my employer that I tried absolutely everything.

 

Thanks,

 

Mai

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Posted (edited)

Granted, it has been about 6 months since I expedited my EAD, so they may have become stricter in the meantime, but it was generally a fairly easy process once you actually get email asking you to send evidence. The entire process took me about a month though, so I suggest you request the expedite ASAP.

 

You must be very clear on the phone that you are applying based on severe financial loss to yourself and your spouse. If you don't get the email within 5-7 days, make sure you follow up. As for anything else, I personally didn't send them a sob story or extenuating circumstances (though I did say that it was a very good career opportunity) just the offer letter and background check.

Edited by AffableAndy
Autocorrect errors!

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@AffableAndy Thank you for your response and for the helpful information! It seems that the recent changes to the EAD expedite request criteria have been implemented as of May 10, 2019. Did you submit your request after that?

 

There is some information online that says only 1% of the expedite requests under severe financial loss are being approved (https://www.am22tech.com/ead-expedite-request-with-uscis/). It is hard to believe this info given all the approved cases (including yours) that I see on the VJ forum (I am actively following another thread "EAD Expedite Request Timeline after Fax Request"). 

 

As you suggest, I plan on submitting the request this week. Here's what I am thinking of submitting as evidence of severe financial loss to myself, my husband, and my employer (I am a postdoc researcher on a fellowship salary at a major hospital in Boston, MA). 

 

- a termination notice from my employer upon expiration of my EAD

- a support letter from my supervisor stating the consequences of my termination (loss of fellowship/salary, delayed progress on research & operation of our lab )

- copy of my fellowship award notice

- copy of my pay stub and/or W-2 

 

What are your thoughts on this? Also, if it is not too much trouble, would you mind sharing your exact timeline of your request case? 

 

Thank you for your help in advance,

 

Mai 

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Certainty the recommendation now is to seek an expedite, not that difficult to do and you never know.

 

Remember the basis is financial hardship in your case.

 

 


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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@maisfree, here is a slightly more comprehensive timeline of what I did. Just for context, I filed on 02/12/19 and had a job offer starting 08/05/19. When I put my AOS paperwork in, the estimate was that I'd get it in 4 months. By the end of may, the estimate had gone to about 6 months.

 

05/29/19 - Called USCIS to request an expedite. The lady put a request in, I got a number, but there was no follow up email.

06/10/19 - Called USCIS to follow up. Apparently there was an error inputting the request, so the person on the phone put a new request in.

06/14/19 - Get email requesting evidence of severe financial loss. This was a Friday afternoon, so I waited till Monday morning to fax evidence to them.

06/17/19 - Faxed a package containing: (1) cover letter with all relevant details (2) email from USCIS (3) Job offer letter (4) background check from employer. (yours will differ)

06/22/19 - Get an approval letter in the mail.

06/24/19 - EAD arrived in the mail.

I'd suggest you get a letter from your PI stating that the job is going to remain open and be held for you until your immigration paperwork comes through, rather than anything about research productivity going down, as the former is more relevant to your request. 

I work in a research lab as well. Just a non-immigration related warning: at my institution, there is a total ban on volunteers subsequently getting paid to do the same/similar work. This is to prevent labs from taking advantage of people who want to work there, but also means that if you were to continue working voluntarily after the termination of your employment, it would be very hard to re-employ you after the paperwork comes through. Make sure you have a conversation with HR about what you can/can't do if there is a gap in your employment to prevent issues down the road!

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You would need EAD to work voluntarily.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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@AffableAndy Thanks for your detailed timeline info and for the input on my PI's letter. Yes, I think you're right that talking about reduction in research productivity does not really help in this case. Still, I thought it would be important to mention that I am a valuable asset to the lab and termination would have multiple consequences, including the loss of the fellowship (awarded to my PI to pay for my salary). Is this correct? What other points should be made in his letter? 

 

As @Boiler pointed out, volunteering does require an EAD unfortunately. We recently got a volunteer trainee in our lab that had to obtain EAD to start working in our lab. So I guess volunteering is not an option available to me. I will definitely have to talk to HR about a possible gap in employment and how they will deal with the situation. 

 

Thanks again,

 

Mai

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@Boiler Thank you for your input! Yes, I will submit my expedite request under financial hardship this week. I will work on collecting supporting documents. I do agree that at this point, this is all I can do other than to wait. I will also try reaching out to congressperson. 

 

Thanks,

 

Mai 

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From a university perspective, talk to  your PI right away - they may need time to formulate some kind of plan. What if you had a baby/medical condition that caused you to leave for a few months? Surely they have some kind of mechanism in place to ensure that they can keep their funding stream for a few months. 

 

I think beyond that you will be fine, it is just very important that the letter says the job will remain open for you. You could also point out (if you do) that you use your position for health insurance and retirement benefits. All the best, let us know how it goes!

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@AffableAndy Great news! Thankfully, my I-765 got approved as of this morning! I just checked the status online and says new card is being produced!!! While I am relieved that it is not necessary to submit my expedite request in the end, I want to thank you for all your input and advice involving this process which may be helpful for others in a similar situation. Thank you again. I hope you have a great week! 

 

Sincerely,

 

Mai 

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