Can you work while waiting for adjustment of status? Find out here from a trusted attorney familiar with immigration services.
Can I Work While Waiting for Adjustment of Status?
In the United States, you can work while your application is pending, as long as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is viable.
Anyone applying for adjustment of status is eligible to apply for a work permit by filing a concurrent application. Although you are lawfully present in the U.S. and have filed an application for which you are fully eligible, you are not guaranteed that you will work legally or obtain a work permit.
Conditions Set by Immigration Services When Applying for a Work Permit
Some of the conditions stipulated by immigration services when applying for a work permit include:
Having a pending Application for Adjustment of Status Form to Register Permanent Residence or
- Adjustment of Status.
- Have a pending Form I-589.
- Having a nonimmigrant arrival/departure registration status, such as F-1 or M-1 student, which allows them to be in the U.S. but denies work authorization without first applying for permission from USCIS.
After receiving your green card, you are automatically elevated to lawful permanent resident status with full rights to work legally.
Some immigrants have work visas called ‘incident to status’, which allows them to work after becoming lawful permanent residents. Those with pending decisions are eligible for a work permit application, but those with criminal convictions or who have been arrested cannot obtain employment authorization documents in the state of Texas.
What Is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of status is the application process for foreign nationals present in the United States to obtain a green card. Return to your home country at the expiration of Your permit/visa is not required when someone applies for a green card through the adjustment of status process. The government allows you to remain on U.S. soil until USCIS completes processing your application.
You must have a valid visa in order for the U.S. authorities to adjust your status. You will not be able to file an adjustment of status application if you do not qualify for lawful immigration status. In addition, adjusting your status to a green card begins by ensuring your eligibility for the specific type.
How Much Is the Filing Fee for Adjustment of Status?
For most green card applicants, the fee is $1,140, plus a biometric fee of $85. If you are under 14 and file your parent’s Form I-485, you will pay $995; if you file on your own, you will pay the full filing fee of $1,140.
What Is the Adjustment of Status Application Process?
After you qualify for an adjustment of status, there are five steps you must follow to submit your application.
Step 1: The Green Card Sponsor Must File the I-130 Visa Application.
The person acting as your sponsor will file a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the authorities, namely the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), on your behalf. It acts as proof that you and your U.S. citizen sponsor or green card holder have a relationship that forms the basis of the petition.
For an employment-based immigrant petition, your specific employer is responsible for filing a sponsor petition.
If the processing times of the responsible government agency lack quotas for your specific card, you may file a concurrent petition. You will need to submit Form I-130, I-485 and supporting documents simultaneously.
Step 2: File Form I-485 After Uscis Approves the I-130 Petition
The official adjustment application status follows a non-concurrent application after approval of the I-130 petition, and you must have a visa number.
To work on a pending petition, you must file Form I-765 and Form I-485 together to obtain a work permit. Similarly, to travel abroad with a pending green card, you must file Form I-131 with your Form I-485 to obtain an Advance Parole travel document.
Advanced Parole Eligibility
There are only two conditions for applying for advance parole. First, you must show that you are a current resident of the U.S. Second, you must have a bona fide reason to travel abroad and have a pending application for adjustment of status processing.
The advance parole document generally arrives within 150 days (waiting time may be longer) after filing. You cannot travel abroad until you have the approved travel document in hand, so you must spend the next 3 to 5 months after filing your green card application in the United States. Mandatory supporting documents must accompany all forms.
Step 3: Attend the Biometric Appointment
After a period of time, USCIS will invite green card applicants to attend a biometric appointment. They take your biometric information, including photos, fingerprints and signature, to help check your criminal history against the FBI database.
Step 4: Attend the Green Card Interview
USCIS may invite you to a green card interview at your local office. The decision is based on the information in your application and the result of your criminal background check.
Step 5: Your green card application is approved or denied
USCIS sends the verdict on your application shortly after your interview. The physical green card document is mailed to your new address shortly thereafter if your application is approved.
You can view the status of your application by entering the filing fee receipt number in the USCIS online case tracker.
The process can be quite technical and the input of a naturalization and citizenship attorney can be helpful. With more than 15 years of immigration experience, you can find the legal advice, support and representation you need for your case. We handle a wide range of immigration law matters, including adjustment of status, citizenship, deportation defense, family immigration and special immigrant juvenile status cases.
For more information on what it takes to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Can I Work While My Green Card Application Is Pending?
If you are currently living in Texas, U.S., and are interested in working for a U.S. employer while your green card application is pending, you will first need a work permit. When it is a valid work visa, such as an H-1B or L-1, you can work even with a pending green card application.
The work permit application is submitted with the initial green card application package for family members of U.S. citizens. However, family members of green card holders must request confirmation of eligibility to file their green card application before applying for a work permit.
What Is My Status While the I-485 Is Pending?
A Form I-485 must be filed to register permanent residence or adjustment of status for a foreign national. This process can take anywhere from 7 months to 6 years after the priority date, depending on the type of green card.
The length of your processing time also depends on the errors detected and whether there was a problem of insufficient evidence. The USCIS website periodically updates application processing times.
Pending Application Status
Even with a pending application, you continue to live in the U.S. under your only valid status. Applicants with H-1B status and pending adjustment of status application will remain so until expiration.
Note that a pending petition does not grant you lawful immigration status. It simply classifies you in a particular immigrant visa category, which forms the basis for filing for adjustment of status.
Adjustment of Work Permit Status
Green card applicants in the U.S. are eligible for employment authorization cards (work permits).
Consular processing applicants must wait in their home country for approval of permanent resident status. On the other hand, adjustment of status applicants can obtain an employment authorization card and seek meaningful work while waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve the green card application.
Applying for an Employment Authorization Card
By filing an Application for Adjustment of Status, you can apply for a work permit at the same time. Adjustment of status applicants may file the form during the entire period that adjustment of status is pending.
What Documents Are Required When Applying for a Work Permit in the U.S.?
The following documents are required when applying for a work permit:
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
- Copy of a government-issued photo ID (i.e., passport)
- Copy of Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record
- Passport-type photos (2)
- Copy of Notice of Receipt I-485
From our experience providing immigration attorney services, exceptional circumstances require additional evidence. For complete instructions covering your situation, please refer to the USCIS filing instructions or contact our law firm.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Help You
Countless individuals wish to live in the U.S. to escape the political environment of their home country, reunite with family members, or enhance their academic, employment and financial opportunities.
However, the immigration system is complex and difficult to navigate. Working with our success-oriented law firm guarantees you a qualified Austin immigration lawyer who will make a difference in the outcome of your case.