Published:  February 15, 2011

This past week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) announced the merger of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole Travel Document (AP) for certain applicants for adjustment of status applicants. Previously, CIS issued separate documents authorizing employment and international travel for eligible applicants for adjustment of status, and their issuance and renewal required two separate applications. Now, however, a single document will be issued to eligible, pending adjustment of status applicants to prove their ability to work lawfully in the U.S. as well as facilitate a return trip back into the U.S. following international travel. The document will be issued for a period of 1 or 2 years, depending on the how long the applicant’s adjustment of status application is expected to remain pending.

As a reminder, AP’s and EAD’s are available to foreign nationals undergoing permanent residence processing in the U.S. by way of the filing of Form I-485. To be eligible to file Form I-485, an applicant must be the beneficiary of a qualifying family-based, or employment-based visa petition, and where a visa is immediately available in the applicant’s particular visa category. However, applicants who are out of status for 180 days or more, at the time of the filing of their I-485 Adjustment of Status application are strongly advised NOT to travel internationally while awaiting their permanent residence processing – and even if they are issued an advance parole. For these types of out of status applicants, a 3 or 10 year bar to readmission will kick in upon their departure, leading to the likely denial of their I-485 application and non-issuance of their green card.

Lastly, as long as they are valid, EAD’s and AP’s that are not in a single document will continue to be honored for purposes of proving employment authorization or to facilitate reentry following international travel. Further, separate EAD’s and AP’s will continue to be issued to applicants under certain circumstances.

Copyright © 2011, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois