Work Permits for Asylum Seekers—Some Good News

by Jason Dzubow on January 25, 2017

The new Administration has raised anxieties in immigrant and asylum seeker communities. In part, this is because of President Trump’s rhetoric (and rhetorical style) during the election. And in part, it’s because we just don’t know what to expect from a Trump Administration. Rumors have been flying: Will there be some sort of Muslim ban? Will the President repeal DACA? Or will he (and Congress) create a permanent legalization for DACA recipients? Mr. Trump will be issuing some executive orders later today banning Syrian and other refugees from coming to the U.S., and restricting visas for people from certain Middle Eastern countries. How this will all play out, we shall see.

Filling gaps is a good thing.

But amidst the uncertainty, there is some good news related to work permits—or Employment Authorization Documents (“EADs”)—for asylum seekers.

First, last fall, the government started issuing two-year EADs instead of one-year EADs to people with pending asylum cases. This was a helpful development. It saves money since applicants now only have to apply for a new card every other year. It also makes it easier to obtain and retain employment, since employers feel more confident hiring people who have a longer period of authorized employment. In addition, many states issue driver’s licenses that correspond to the dates on the EAD, so a two-year card means a two-year license. All this helps ease the wait for people seeking asylum.

Second, last week the government issued new (and long anticipated) regulations “to help prevent gaps in employment authorization”:

DHS is providing for the automatic extension of expiring EADs (and underlying employment authorization, if applicable) for up to 180 days with respect to individuals who are seeking renewal of their EADs (and, if applicable, employment authorization) based on the same employment authorization categories under which they were granted.

This means that when you file to renew your EAD, your card will be automatically extended for 180 days once you receive the receipt (it usually takes three or four weeks to get the receipt). This is an important development, since USCIS has been taking months to process EAD renewals, and people were losing their jobs and driver’s licenses while they waited for their new EADs.

The automatic EAD extensions apply to refugees, people with asylum, and people who have pending asylum or withholding of removal cases, among others. You can see the new regulations here (see page 82491, the second to last page of the PDF) and here (page 82455, footnote 98, which lists the categories of people eligible for the automatic EAD extension).

Also, remember that you can apply for a new EAD up to 120 days before the old card expires. Even with the most recent change, it is still a good idea to apply early for your new card, so you receive the replacement EAD as soon as possible.

And here’s one last tip for today. If you cannot afford to pay for the new EAD (fees recently went up), you can request a fee waiver from USCIS, which—if granted—allows you to obtain a new EAD without paying the fee. To apply for a fee waiver, use form I-912, available here.

I have written many times about the affirmative asylum backlog. It has been a real disaster for asylum seekers—especially those separated from their family members. The recent changes to the EAD process, during the waning days of the Obama Administration, have at least made one aspect of the wait easier, and for that, we can be thankful.

[Update 03/27/17: USCIS has published a helpful summary of the categories eligible for the automatic extension here. They also created a useful Fact Sheet, available here.]

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank November 20, 2017 at 12:54 am

Hello,

After sending I765 which includes the request for SSN, when will I be able to recive Social Security Card? Can I receive it before EAD?

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Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:45 am

I think you will receive both at about the same time, but you need both to work lawfully. Also, please note that EADs are moving slowly and even first time EADs can take 4+ months. Take care, Jason

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Eleonora November 17, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Hello Mr. Dzubow,
I would like to ask you if it’s gonna be problem for my spouse, dependent listed in my asylum application, to get EAD, because he has three months more presence then the 1 year rule for eligibility???
Thano you in advance

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Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

I do not think that will affect eligibility for the EAD if he is a dependent on your asylum case. Take care, Jason

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RM November 14, 2017 at 3:27 am

Hello jason , applied for asylum in July 2017 , i have received Receipt number & Biometric Notice with in a week .
after Biometric i changed my address as Po Box , since July i am not receiving any mails to my PO box ,
asylum Applicant can use Po box for ??
i am going to file I-765 i can use Po box number ??

Thanks,

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Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 6:51 pm

You can use a PO box for a mailing address, but you need to also give them a physical address where you live (at least on the form I-589). I think you should probably be ok to use a PO box for the I-765, but check the instructions to be sure, as I have never done that for a client. Take care, Jason

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Andre Silva November 13, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Good afternoon!! I need to pay some fee to apply the EAD for the first time? Thanks!

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Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:17 am

If you are applying for a first EAD based on asylum pending, there is no fee. Take care, Jason

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Toks November 7, 2017 at 2:20 am

Hello Jason,
I filed an application for asylum in Sept 2017. When will I be eligible to apply for an EAD? I reside in Maryland with my 3 children. Any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Jason Dzubow November 8, 2017 at 7:40 am

Your asylum receipt indicates when the application for asylum was received. You can apply 150 days after the date on the receipt. Use form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Sam November 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Hello Mr Jason
I called uscis office about my EAD. They said that they are checking my case individually. Call back after 60 days if you don’t receive anything. That’s what they said. Do you think it will move better after this? Is there anyone who got good news after phone call to uscis office?

Thanks!

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Jason Dzubow November 12, 2017 at 11:34 am

Hopefully, it will get processed, but lots of people are seeing delays with EADs. If you don’t have the card in 60 days, maybe you can make an Info Pass appointment to ask USCIS in person. Sometimes, that is more helpful than a call. You can make the appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Good luck, Jason

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Sam November 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Mr Jason. Will be in touth.

Andre Silva November 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Hello!! God bless you richly! I have a question, I’m from Maryland and I applied for asylum, 150 days after I got the immigration receipt, what immigration office should I send to the application form? Do I need to send a copy of my receipt with the form? Thank you

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Jason Dzubow November 8, 2017 at 7:27 am

I think you are referring to the work permit? Use form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You have to read the instructions to determine the address and the documents needed, but you do need to include a copy of your asylum receipt and biometric notice. Take care, Jason

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SAM November 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

Hi Jason, hope you are doing well..
I am Asylum seeker and regular reader of this blog… just want to share my time line for initial EAD.. it might help other followers..
Applied for EAD with my wife and son : 18 September 2017
Receipt received : 23 September
Approval notice reced: 21 October 2017
EAD in hand : 27 October 2017 with 2 year valdity
OFFICE : Nebraska

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Jason Dzubow November 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

That was fast. Thank you for sharing, Jason

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SAM November 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Thanks Jason…
One question …
Now I am going to apply for SSN, what documents they will ask for? Any idea or suggestions? We have our home country passport, which is expired, is it ok?

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Jay Fayz November 6, 2017 at 9:01 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your continuous support. I had asked this question before but I am a little confused. Looking through USCIS website where to file EAD application I am only being able to find this address and can’t find anything that says residents of this state should file here.

(c)(8)Asylum applicant
USCIS Dallas Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
USCIS
Attn: I-765
P.O. Box 650888
Dallas, TX 75265-0888
For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
USCIS
Attn: I-765
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

I live in AL and my current status is asylum applicant. Do I send the application to an address written above? Please help.

Thanks,

Jay

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Jason Dzubow November 7, 2017 at 7:30 am

I can’t give specific advice like this, as I do not know the case. But if you are filing under c-08, you need to look at the address for that category and send the I-765 there. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow November 7, 2017 at 7:08 am

You will have to check the SS website, but I think the passport, work permit, and asylum receipts are enough. Take care, Jason

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Dennis Owen November 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Please do anyone have an idea of the uscis office that processes ead application for pending asylum applicants for someone who resides in Houston Texas?
Thanks.

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Saleem November 1, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Hi Jason
I applied for EAD back in 14 April 2017 , its already 202 days
nothing happen. What is your advise?
I applied to Nebraska office

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Jason Dzubow November 2, 2017 at 6:16 am

Call USCIS or go in-person to ask. You can find the phone number of make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. You might also contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. People are facing very long EAD renewal delays, but 202 days seems particularly long. You should contact them and see if they can help. Good luck, Jason

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El November 7, 2017 at 7:38 am

I think they are not considering April as a month, I am still waiting. they received my file on April 13. I put 2 inquiries, received the same response that my file is in the line, and I did go in person there, got no answer. I am completely disappointed ?. Please share your update if you get an answer.
Thank you so much,

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Pelly October 28, 2017 at 11:09 am

My EAD timeline

Submitted i-765 on 9/12
Receipt notice to lawyer 9/22
notice was returned to uscis because the post office could not deliver it 10/02
Called USCIS on 10/05 to request for new notice
Card approved for production on 10/20
Card mailed to me on 10/24
EAD card received on 10/27

It took a total of 45 days.

I hope this gives someone Hope
Thank you Jason for your support

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Jason Dzubow October 29, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Thank you – It might help to know what state you are in, If you don’t mind sharing that. Take care, Jason

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Pelly October 29, 2017 at 10:58 pm

I am in Ohio.

Thank you

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Emma October 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

Hi Jason, Iapplied for EAD for myself, wife and 2 kids and we got an email of acceptance from USCIS. However, we are yet to receive the physical copy of the notice. I tracked the applications online with the receipt numbers provided. While 2 of the applications displayed “card has been mailed”, 1 of the application displayed “card is being produced” while 1 displayed ” notice was returned to USCIS because post office couldnt deliver to my address” My question therefore is since we didn’t receive the physical notices, I hope the card will be delivered to my address? Or is there anything you suggest I do proactively especially considering the information displayed that the post office could not be delivered? Thank you

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Jason Dzubow October 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

I am not sure the problem, but you should have received the paper receipt. If not, your address may be wrong. Double check the address you gave them. If needed, you can change your address using form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You may want to call USCIS to ask about this. You can find their number at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Emma October 29, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Thank you Jason for your prompt response. I have double checked the address and found out that my apartment number was wrong. I have submitted firm AR-11 to change the address. But my concern is that what happens to the already mailed cards? Surely USPS will return them to USCIS, but is there a chance USCIS will send them back to my correct address again? Or do i need to cintact them to do that? Thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 6:18 am

I would call USCIS to ask – you can find the phone number at http://www.uscis.gov. Maybe there is something they can do to assist. Also, could you ask the person in that apartment number to look out for the cards? (Though normally, the post office would not deliver them if the name and address do not match, you never know). Hopefully, USCIS will re-send them with the new address, but call to check. Take care, Jason

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Kerry October 31, 2017 at 7:08 am

Hello Jason, what documents do I send with my i-765 when applying for the first time?

Emma November 1, 2017 at 9:26 am

Thank you Jason, EAD Card has been received!!!
My timeline:
Submitted I-765 on October 2
Acceptance email received on October 5
Card was ordered on October 24
Card was mailed to me on October 26
Card delivered by USPS on October 31.

I am in Texas.
I hope those awaiting theirs can find this useful.

El October 24, 2017 at 12:15 am

Hello Jason,
Thank you so much for helping us.
It’s been 201 days the uscis received my application for renewal my EDA. I called several times and I put 2 enquirers on my application. Nothing changed.
Is it normal for renewal?? I am frustrated and I am losing a great job opportunity.
What is your suggestion??
Thank you again.

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 6:40 am

We are seeing long delays, but that is really long. I suggest you make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov and go in person. Sometimes that works better than calling on the phone. Also, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. They can sometimes help with delayed cases. Take care, Jason

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El October 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

Thank you so much Jason, I made an appointment, I will let you know what happened at the end of the week.

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El October 31, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Hello again dear Jason,
I went to the immigration office and they told me they are not responsible for asylum and their EAD’s.
So I really don’t know what to do.
Thank you so much for your help.

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Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

The asylum offices are responsible for asylum cases, and the USCIS offices are responsible for work permits. Make sure you go to the correct place depending on the type of inquiry you are making. Take care, Jason

Sam October 24, 2017 at 9:03 am

Hello Mr Jason. I live in Illinois. But my case is in Texas. If I want to make an info pass appointment, should I go to Texas office or I can go to office in Illinois close to me?
Thanks. Sam

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Normally, you go to your local office. Take care, Jason

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Sam October 24, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Thank you Mr Jason,

Atif November 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

Hi Jason,

I posted this query earlier, but I guess I couldn’t get a reply.

Please advise the average lead time these days for interview from the date of filing. I applied from NY.

Cordially,

Atif.

P.S. Many thanks for selfless work.

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Jason Dzubow November 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

You have to check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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steve October 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Here is my timeline it could be helpful for some fellas

14 august uscis got my ead request notice
13 october my card was processed
17 october my card was mailed to. e
20 october I got my card around 6 pm
thank you jason for helps and responds

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Sam October 20, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Congrats Steve! I’ ve got question if it is ok. My wife and I asylum applicants , but my wife’s case is major. She has got her EAD within 2 month. I’m still waiting. My question is Are you asylum applicant or you added to your spouse? I think they are working only with major asylum applications cases in this time…

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steve October 21, 2017 at 1:13 am

I m single sam office was texas good luck

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 10:24 am

In our office we have not seen differences in waiting times between principal asylum applicants and dependents, but the wait times are pretty unpredictable. So hopefully, you will get your EAD soon. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

Thank you for sharing this. Take care, Jason

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Emmanuel October 18, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Dear Jason,

Thanks for the information on this page. Please i want to know the website where i can watch and track my asylum status as an applicant and i have just sent in my EAD application last Thursday which was received on Monday.

Please treat a top urgent.

Regards,

Emmanuel

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm

You cannot track your asylum case online. You can track your I-765 at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Jay Fayz October 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Dear Mr. Dzubow,

Many thanks for your kind assistance on asylum matters. I have couple of questions:
1) Am I allowed to file an I-765 form (EAD) for my children that are in age of 8, 6 and 2?
2) Where do I have to send completed I-765 form? I couldn’t really locate which center does it have to be sent for processing?
Thank you for your help, Jay

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:19 pm

1 – You can file for an EAD for them if they are dependents on your asylum application (you submitted an extra page 9 of the I-589 for each child with his/her photo). 2 – I cannot tell you as I do not know your case – you need to look on the I-765 page for direct filing addresses – https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses. Take care, Jason

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Nusieba Ibrahim October 17, 2017 at 11:40 pm

Hi Jason,
Hope you are doing well. MY SECOND I-765 RENEWAL APPLICATION is being pending for almost 5 months now with no update. I contacted the USCIS office three times with no response. I am so worried and I do not know what should I do? Thanks!

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El October 18, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I am waiting since April 13 , more than 6 months. And I put 2 inquiries. Not worth it.
We should be patient
And trust God, although it’s really hard to be waiting for several things.

Reply

Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Many renewals are delayed, and we are seeing people wait 4 or 5 months or more. If you received the receipt, you should get the new card. You can make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov and go in person to ask about the card. Sometimes that works better than calling. Also, you could inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right). They can sometimes help with delayed cases. Take care, Jason

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steve October 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hi jason i check my uscis status says my card being produced since 13 october , how many days should i wait more for getting ead thank you

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Kerry October 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm

When did you apply for it?

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steve October 17, 2017 at 7:52 pm

4 agust

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Sam October 17, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Wow that’s great! My wife received EAD around 10 days after “card being produced”. You should get soon.

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Sam October 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm

which state? Uscis office?

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steve October 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

nyc texas office

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 6:10 am

Sometimes it takes a couple weeks, but you should have it soon. Take care, Jason

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steve October 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

thank you jason

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Vijayalakshmi jagarlamudi October 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Hi Jason. My husband and me both apply EAD.my husband case major.we both apply EAD same day .we check uscis status online my husband EAD approved my EAD status case was recived. Sir both case same why did different status. We did get revive EAD same day or not pls tel me

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Jason Dzubow October 17, 2017 at 6:27 am

We see EADs take 4 or 5 months in most cases, and two EADs filed on the same day are not necessarily processed in the same time frame. Unless your EAD is very delayed (and it is too soon to know, I think), I think you should not worry about this. Take care, Jason

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Vijayalakshmi jagarlamudi October 16, 2017 at 11:57 am

Hi Jason. My husband and me both apply EAD.my husband case major.we both apply EAD same day .we check uscis status online my husband EAD approved my EAD status was revived. Sir both case same why did different status. We did get revive EAD same day or not pls tel me

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Jason Dzubow October 17, 2017 at 6:24 am

We see EADs take 4 or 5 months in most cases, and two EADs filed on the same day are not necessarily processed in the same time frame. Unless your EAD is very delayed (and it is too soon to know, I think), I think you should not worry about this. Take care, Jason

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naya kaha October 14, 2017 at 11:50 pm

hi jason, actually iam an asylum seeker i got my ead 2 weeks ago and at the same time im married to a LPR wife and she petitioned me in 2016 and yesteday NVC just sent me a second email saying that they are busy processing my immigrant visa case,they gave me steps to follow and ask me to pay the fees ,in the letter they includes NVC case number and Invoice ID Number therefore this is my concern : NVC thinking I am outside USA and they will schedule an interview at the us consulate embassy back in my country ; so my questions is that can i do the Adjustment of status while inside usa ??? can i combine both case asylum and I-130 ? help me with an advice what can i do ?? can i email them saying that I am inside USA and I can’t file Ds-260 and can’t pay fees outside usa becasue Iam already inside USA . kind regards

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Jason Dzubow October 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

If your wife were a US citizen, you probably could adjust status and get the GC. But unless you are here lawfully on a visa (other than asylum pending), you probably have to leave the US to get your green card, and that may or may not be possible depending on your case. I recommend you talk to a lawyer to decide on the best approach. Take care, Jason

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naya kaha October 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

hi jason,
thank you for your advice but i entered us with a b1b2 but right now is exired ,is that not mean iam lawfull ??? right now i dont have a lawyer can i hire you for this combine cases because i see you are the best ??

kind regrads

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Jason Dzubow October 17, 2017 at 6:21 am

If you filed for asylum, you are lawfully here, but you have no immigration status for purposes of changing status. As for me, if you want to set a consultation, you can email me at Jdzubow@DzubowLaw.com. Take care, Jason

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Kerry November 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

Hello Jason, are pending asylum applicants required to go fingerprinting when they apply for ead ?

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Jason Dzubow November 2, 2017 at 6:09 am

I believe USCIS is no longer fingerprinting asylum-pending EAD applicants. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Sorry, I cannot give specific advice about applications, as I do not know your case. The instruction explain what to send, and if you are missing something, USCIS will send you a notice and tell you what they need. It is no big deal and causes minimal delay. Take care, Jason

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Kerry November 1, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hello, is it acceptance mail or email?

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Jason Dzubow November 2, 2017 at 6:08 am

That was fast – it is amazing how some parts of the US are so fast and other parts are so slow. Take care, Jason

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Emma November 1, 2017 at 11:12 pm

I received an ‘acceptance’ email also notifying me of my receipt number

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Kerry November 1, 2017 at 11:35 pm

The ead form doesn’t have an option for email, I don’t think USCIS would contact you via email

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Emma November 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Well, I received an email for each member of my family I applied for.

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Kerry November 2, 2017 at 7:25 am

Hello Jason, they keep talking about email but there’s no option on the i-765 form that requires email address

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Jason Dzubow November 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Use firm G-1145, available at http://www.uscis.gov, and USCIS will send you an email about your application. Take care, Jason

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Kerry November 2, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Hello Jason, do I send the G-1145 together with my i-765?

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Jason Dzubow November 3, 2017 at 6:14 am

Yes, but maybe it is possible to submit it later, I am not sure – check the instructions. Take care, Jason

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