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Can I Get A Work Permit While My Residency Case is Pending?

We all know that it is tough to find a job these days, but what does this have to do with immigration? Well, if you are in the process of applying for residency and your case has not been processed yet, then you can still get an employment authorization document (EAD) or work permit. This piece will discuss how and why people can get EADs/work permits while their cases are pending.

If you've applied for your green card based on marriage or family ties to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, and if you don't have another way to live in the United States legally while waiting for your application to be processed, then you can request permission from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to work in the country during this time period…

…but it might take months before USCIS makes a decision about whether or not they will grant you permission to work while your application is pending (it can sometimes even take years). So how are you going to pay bills? How are you going to get health insurance? And what are you supposed to do when all of that money runs out?! 

Requesting a work permit alongside your Adjustment of Status application is one way that many people solve this problem, but there's no guarantee that USCIS will approve such an application - especially if they've already denied your residency application.

If you're going to apply for a work permit, make sure that you do it while your Adjustment of Status is pending - not after they've made their decision and have granted or denied the case. Also, keep in mind that these work permits are for individuals who are eligible for adjustment of status and who have filed form I-485. If you are only eligible to have a family member or employer file an I-130 or I-140 on your behalf so that you can go through consular processing then you do not qualify for a work permit based only upon that petition.

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