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The Employment Authorization Document And Travel Document Application


1. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Application

When you send the I-485 application to USCIS, you may also submit an I-765 form for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) application, if you want to work in the United States while your I-485 application being processed.

The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs the admission of all persons to the United States. Part of the law about Employment Authorization Documents defines the employment authorization responsibilities of both employers and employees. USCIS issues Employment Authorization Documents to prove you are allowed to work in the United States.

The specific categories that require an Employment Authorization Document include applicants adjusting to permanent residence status; asylees and asylum seekers; refugees; students seeking particular types of employment; people in or applying for temporary protected status; fiancés of American citizens; and dependents of foreign government officials.

2. The Advance Parole and Exception

If your Form I-485 application is pending, and if you have a valid and unexpired visa, such as  H, L, O, K or V visa, then you can travel to outside of United States.

If you do have have above visa, or your visa is not valid or expired, before you leave the United States while waiting to be called in for and interview on your adjustment of status application, you should apply for a permit called "Advance Parole," using Form I-131 issued by U.S. Citizenship and  Immigration Services.

If you have not already included the "Advance Parole" form with your Form I-485 adjustment of status packet, you can submit it separately. You can avoid paying a separate fee with this I-131 application by submitting a copy of the Form I-485 receipt notice that you got from USCIS upon submitting your adjustment application.

If you do not submit Form I-131 application before you leave the United States, USCIS may consider your application to have been abandoned,  and will stop processing it. You will then be denied U.S. entry unless you have some other form of visa. 

3. The Travel Document (Advance Parole) Application

Due to the case processing backlog within the USCIS, it may take some time for your to receive the Green Card after the Form I-485 application for adjustment of status has been submitted. 

During this waiting period, you can apply for an Advance Parole, which allows you to travel overseas and come back to the United States without affecting your Green Card application. The only prerequisite for an Advance Parole is that you have maintained a legal status throughout your stay in the United States.

If you need to travel outside the United States while your I-485 application being processed, you need to send an I-131 form to USCIS for Travel Document application. The legal foundation for requiring these travel documents comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which defines documents required to admit aliens and control their travel. Any immigrant who does not have the correct travel documents will not be admitted to the United States.

For non-citizens, you need permission to return to the United States after traveling abroad. This permission is granted through a travel document. Travel documents are also given to people who want to travel, but cannot get a passport from their country of nationality. You must file USCIS Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document, complete with supporting documentation, photos and applicable fees.

Travel outside of the United States may trigger the three or ten year bar to admission for adjustment applicants. This ground of inadmissibility is triggered if you were unlawfully present in the United States (i.e., you remained in the United States beyond the period of authorized stay) for more than 180 days before you applied for adjustment of status and you traveled outside of the United States while your adjustment of status application was pending.

Due to the case processing backlog within the USCIS, it may take some time for your to receive the Green Card after the Form I-485 application for adjustment of status has been submitted.

4. The "Single-Document Work Permit and Advance Parole" for I-485 Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue employment (EAD) and travel authorization (AP) on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This card represents a significant improvement from the previous practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

The card looks similar to the previous Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The new card is also more secure and more durable than the paper Advance Parole document. 

An applicant may receive this card when he or she files an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, and an Application for Travel Document, Form I-131, concurrently with or after filing Form I-485. USCIS will continue to issue separate EAD and Advance Parole documents as warranted. Employers may accept the new card as a List A document when completing the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9.

As with the current Advance Parole document, obtaining a combined Advance Parole and employment authorization card allows an applicant for adjustment of status to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without abandoning the pending adjustment application. Upon returning to the U.S., the individual who travels with the card must present the card to request parole through the port-of-entry. The decision to parole the individual is made at the port-of-entry. Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. and subsequently depart and seek re-entry through a grant of parole may be inadmissible and ineligible to adjust their status.

5. The Application of Reentry Permit to Avoid Abandoning the Green Card

A Green Card holder (U.S. lawful permanent or conditional resident) can travel outside the U.S. and return, with some limitations. A reentry permit can help prevent two types of problems: 1) your Green Card becomes technically invalid for reentry into U.S., if you are absent from U.S. for one year or more;  2) your Green Card status may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than one year, if you take up residence in another country.
A reentry permit establishes that a Green Card holder did not intend to abandon U.S. permanent residence status, and it allows you to apply for admission to U.S. after traveling abroad for up to 2 years without having to obtain a returning resident visa. If you are a Green Card holder planning to travel outside of U.S. for one year or more, it is important that you apply for a reentry permit

A reentry permit is used when a U.S. Green Card holder wishes to leave the United States for a period of between 1 year and 2 years, but does not want to be viewed as having abandoned the U.S. residence or Green Card. The USCIS Form I-131 is used to apply for a Reentry Permit.
As a Green Card holder, you must be in United States when applying for a reentry permit, and must attend the USCIS biometrics appointment before leaving United States. But you can request to pick up the reentry permit approval at a U.S. embassy in your home country, or you can ask that it be sent to an overseas address. The reentry permit itself looks similar to a passport, and will contain your photo. It will normally expire after 2 years.



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