Many of my clients feel frustrated right now because of the uncertain and often slow processing times for USCIS benefits. One of the most significant problems is with I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, aka “work permit.” Many of my clients file for “work permits” in conjunction with I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status (“green card”). Historically, the work permit took under 90 days to process, and if it did not, I could advocate on behalf of my client to get the card processed. Now, the cards are taking three, four, five months and even longer. Importantly, I can no longer go to the local USCIS office to request that the work permit application be expedited due to slow processing or due to a client’s offer of employment. In many cases, work permits are not decided before my clients “green card” interviews. Last month, two clients received the actual work permits in the mail AFTER they received their green cards! (The work permits are not necessary and in fact are invalid once the “green card” is approved.)
USCIS publishes “processing times” on its website, but in the past year or so, I have found that information to be unreliable. In addition to publishing processing time dates, the USCIS website publishes a “case inquiry” date, which if often months or a year after the processing time date. That means that even if a case is outside the normal processing time, we cannot complain until the case reaches the “case inquiry” date.
If you have questions about your current pending case/s, consult an immigration attorney. I meet with new clients on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in my Cambridge office or via telephone. The charge for the initial 55-minute consultation is $200.