Expensive Sophie: Do staff need to cease working till they get their EAD?


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Dear Sophie: Do employees have to stop working until they get their EAD?

Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how corporations.

“Your questions are very important to the unfold of data that permits folks everywhere in the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration legal professional. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Expensive Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Expensive Sophie,

One among our staff is on an H-4 visa and has an Employment Authorization Doc. It’s been 5 months since he filed to resume his EAD, which can expire subsequent month. Is there any solution to expedite this course of? Does he need to cease working if he doesn’t obtain his new EAD card earlier than his outdated one expires?

As a result of it’s taking so lengthy to get EAD playing cards, we’re fearful about one other of our staff, who has an L-2 visa with an EAD scheduled to run out early subsequent yr.

As well as, the H-4 visa worker needs to go to his household in India as a result of it’s been greater than three years since he final went. Will he and his household have the ability to return to the U.S. after 4 weeks?

— Conscious Supervisor

Expensive Conscious,

Thanks for reaching out to me with all of your questions on Employment Authorization Paperwork (EADs), in any other case referred to as work permits. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies (USCIS) has launched a couple of modifications to cut back case backlogs and enhance the standard of service, and one space it has been specializing in is decreasing the processing instances for EADs and lengthening their validity to keep away from employment disruptions.

For the previous couple of years, USCIS has been backlogged because of the pandemic, funding points, and reliance on paper-based processing for many immigration advantages. Proper now, USCIS is taking wherever from 5 months to 9.5 months to course of an H-4 EAD utility or extension, relying on the USCIS service heart dealing with the request.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a brand new window)

Whereas USCIS is working to develop premium processing to further immigration types, it stays unavailable for Type I-765, which is used to use for and renew work authorization. With premium processing, USCIS ensures to course of an utility inside 15 days for a price.

Nevertheless, there’s excellent news for you and your staff!

Work permits for H-4 visa holders

H-4 visa holders, who’re the spouses of H-1B visa holders, had been provided some aid this yr within the EAD course of.

In Could, USCIS issued a short lived rule designed to cut back EAD backlogs in addition to the stress on people holding H-4 visas and their employers. These visa holders can have their EADs prolonged for as much as 540 days if the person had a renewal utility pending with USCIS on or after Could 4 2022, or had filed a renewal utility on or after that date.

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