On February 27, the ombudsman for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) discussed issues related to the processing of I-765 forms, which request Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). USCIS has a goal of getting EADs out within 90 days, but 51 percent of the applications now take between 90 and 180 days to be issued. If there are questions about the application or there is a Request For Evidence, the process could take longer.
Renewals of EADs take place automatically if the process takes longer than six months, but there is no automatic process for first-time applicants. For immigrants wishing to work in New Orleans, in Louisiana, or around the country, these processing delays are more than a simple inconvenience. EADs demonstrate that immigrants are eligible to work, and without it, they are unable to get social security cards, driver’s licenses, and open bank accounts. In short, delays of up to six months to process EADs put undue stress on immigrants willing and able to participate in the country’s labor and economic markets.
According to the ombudsman, USCIS doesn’t have an answer for the delays except to reallocate resources to address the backlog of applications.
Applicants cannot check on the status of their EADs until they have been pending for 75 days, so those who have questions about their EAD or I-765 should contact a reputable immigration attorney. There is no expedited processing for this document, but a lawyer can help you find out if there are issues with your application and deal with them if there are.