USCIS EAD processing times are leading to high number of job losses. USCIS does not allow you to file EAD extension before 180 days of current work permit’s expiry for H4 EAD, L2 EAD and many others.
As per USCIS’s own EAD processing times, you can expect to receive an EAD approval in about 6-8 months. This is in direct conflict with their own 180 day policy.
As of 14 Jan, 2020, USCIS official H4 and L2 EAD processing time is 6 to 8 months. You are not allowed to even ask for a status update if it is within this time frame. How is this justified?
The other service centers like Nebraska and Vermont have processing time between 4 to 7.5 months.
Any sensible policy should take into account the agency’s own processing times before making life difficult for the applicants.
Get Ready For Forced Job Loss
The current policy is inadvertently forcing H4 EAD and L2 EAD workers to lose their jobs and wait indefinitely for an action from USCIS. The chances of getting an approval within 6 months of filing are almost down to 20%.
This means that if you do not file an EAD extension right on the 180th day, your odds of getting EAD before your current one expires are almost close to 10%. You will have to go on forced absence of leave or may have to be terminated by your employer.
If you get late in filing and extension due to any reason whatsoever, you should make up your mind to go on forced leave as per current trends.
This is not fair.
In many real life cases, we have heard that employers are not eager to hire H4 EAD candidates due to the pending DHS revocation process. The USCIS processing times definitely add salt to injury.
USCIS 180 day Restriction is not Fair for EAD Applications
USCIS policy of not allowing any renewals before 180 days of current expiry works in case of H1B or L visa as the non-immigrant worker can continue working based on extension receipt.
This is not the case with dependent EAD benefits for both H4 and L2 EADs. USCIS forces them to stop working just because they are not able to process all applications within their own mandated 180 days time frame.
Earlier, USCIS had a service level agreement of processing EAD applications within 90 days but got rid of it recently. This has resulted in huge problems and attorneys have cashed on the problems by starting to file litigation in federal court.
If you file before 180 of expiry, USCIS simply rejects the EAD application with a reason that you filed extension too early.
The only door that remains open in these circumstances is to knock on the court door.
EAD Lawsuits Increase Cost of EAD Work Permits
The standard EAD that costs about $400 now costs an additional $4000 by way of court and attorney fees. Anyone who wants to save their hard earned job and maintain continuity has no other credible way other than joining the lawsuit like H4 EAD litigation by RN law.
When Reddy and Neumann started filing the EAD litigation cases challenging USCIS delays in June 2019, they did get quick approvals. But, this situation has changed now and many H4 EAD cases stay pending past 60 days even after filing federal court case against USCIS.
USCIS Rejects EAD Expedite Requests
USCIS approves the EAD expedite request only in extreme situations. Interestingly, job loss is not one of them.
Anyone who is in the job market will understand how difficult it is to pass the skilled job interviews. The effort and resources that an employer puts in training a new employer cannot be ignored either.
Due to the extreme threat to their jobs due to USCIS processing delays, almost everyone has started filing EAD expedite request. But, USCIS simply rejects the application without even asking for any extreme situation proof.
But all goes in vain if the EAD extension is delayed past the 180 days.
Premium Processing for H4, L2 EAD?
There is no premium processing available for H4 or L2 EAD applications.
Earlier, USCIS used to approve them within 15 days with their primary H1B or L visa extension if filed in premium. But, that courtesy favor has been stopped after the new i539 biometric requirement.
Some people have been able to get H4 EAD approval within 15 days by upgrading H1B to premium after they have completed their biometric. This benefit is highly dependent on USCIS case office. You cannot be 100% sure if the USCIS will have a soft heart there and you will get an approval.
Job Loss Leads to Financial Losses
Losing a job is a big financial burden on the worker, employer and the income taxes.
You stop contributing to social security taxes, your insurance benefits are stopped and you lose your driving license. Isn’t this a government loss too? Anyone in USCIS listening?
Have you been affected by the H4 EAD renewal delays? Did you lose your job? Share in the comments below.