Marriage-based EAD processing time refers to the timeframe it takes for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) application for a foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The EAD provides temporary work authorization for the foreign national while their application for permanent residency is being processed. As the processing time can vary, it is important for applicants to be aware of the current estimated processing time and plan accordingly.
Understanding Marriage-Based EAD Processing Time
If you’re a foreign national residing in the United States and you’re married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for work authorization. This authorization, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), allows you to work legally in the country while awaiting a decision on your green card application.
One of the most critical aspects of applying for an EAD is understanding the processing time. Processing times can vary significantly, depending on several factors.
Factors Affecting EAD Processing Time
The following are some of the factors that can affect the processing time of your marriage-based EAD application:
- USCIS workload and backlog
- Completeness of your application
- The complexity of your case
- USCIS office where your application is processed
- Whether you submitted the application online or on paper
- Whether you requested expedited processing
- Time of year
How Long Does It Take to Process a Marriage-Based EAD Application?
Currently, the USCIS processing time for a marriage-based EAD application is approximately 4-6 months. However, this is just an estimate, and processing times can vary significantly based on the factors mentioned earlier.
It’s essential to note that USCIS relies on the data provided by applicants to determine processing times. It means that if you have incomplete or inaccurate information on your application, it can significantly delay the process.
Key Takeaway: It is important for foreign nationals who are married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident and want to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to understand the processing time. Several factors affect the processing time, such as USCIS workload, application completeness, and complexity of the case. To reduce EAD processing times, applicants should ensure that their application is complete and accurate, consider submitting the application online, and request expedited processing in certain situations such as severe financial loss, humanitarian reasons, or emergency situations.
How to Check Your EAD Processing Time
If you’ve applied for a marriage-based EAD and want to check the status of your application, you can do so through the USCIS website. You’ll need your receipt number, which you can find on your application receipt notice.
Once you have your receipt number, you can enter it into the USCIS Case Status Online tool to track the processing of your application. You can also sign up for email or text message updates on your case status.
Tips for Reducing EAD Processing Time
While there’s no guaranteed way to expedite your EAD processing time, some tips can help reduce the processing time.
Submit a Complete and Accurate Application
As mentioned earlier, USCIS relies on the information provided by applicants to determine processing times. If your application is incomplete or has errors, it can significantly delay the process. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your application is complete, accurate, and error-free.
Submit Your Application Online
Submitting your application online can also help reduce processing times. The USCIS online filing system is designed to check for errors and omissions and can prevent applications from being submitted with incomplete or incorrect information.
Request Expedited Processing
If you have an urgent need for an EAD, you can request expedited processing. USCIS may grant expedited processing in certain situations, such as severe financial loss, emergency situations, or humanitarian reasons.
FAQs for Marriage Based EAD Processing Time
What is a Marriage Based EAD?
A marriage-based Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a type of work permit that allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to work legally in the U.S. while their application for permanent residency (green card) is pending.
How long does it take to process a Marriage Based EAD?
The processing time for a marriage-based EAD can vary depending on a number of factors such as the volume of applications USCIS is receiving, the complexity of the case, and whether or not additional information or documentation is required. Currently, USCIS lists the processing time for a marriage-based EAD as an average of 4 to 6 months.
Can I work while my Marriage Based EAD is being processed?
No, you cannot work in the U.S. while your marriage-based EAD is being processed, unless you have another type of work authorization. It is important to wait until you receive your EAD before you start working.
How can I check the status of my Marriage Based EAD application?
You can check the status of your marriage-based EAD application by using the USCIS online case status tool. You will need to enter your receipt number, which can be found on your receipt notice or other USCIS correspondence.
Can I expedite the processing of my Marriage Based EAD?
In some cases, USCIS may expedite the processing of a marriage-based EAD if the applicant can demonstrate that there are extraordinary circumstances that require faster processing, such as a severe financial hardship. However, generally, expedited processing is reserved for emergencies and urgent situations.
What should I do if my Marriage Based EAD is taking longer than the average processing time?
If your marriage-based EAD is taking longer than the average processing time, you can contact USCIS using the customer service number or make an appointment to talk to an agent in person. If you are approaching the 6-month mark and your application is still pending, you may want to consider consulting with an immigration attorney for guidance.