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Can I work while my adjustment of status application is in process?

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In this blog post, we answer one of your frequently asked questions: can I work while my adjustment of status application, Form I-485, is in process?

Form I-485 is an application that must be filed to register a foreign national’s permanent residence or adjustment of status. As part of the adjustment of status process, an applicant can also file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, which is an application for a work permit. The I-485 and I-765, along with other forms, are typically filed concurrently. The I-765 application can also be filed separately, so long as the Form I-485 remains pending with USCIS.

Once Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization is filed with USCIS, along with Form I-485, the applicant must wait for the application to be adjudicated. The amount of time that it takes for Form I-765 to be adjudicated depends on your service center.

Once Form I-765 is adjudicated, the application culminates in what is known as an “employment authorization card” or EAD, which is essentially a work permit.

The employment authorization card grants the foreign national the ability to work lawfully in the United States, obtain a social security number, open a bank account, and obtain a driver’s license.

How long does it take for the employment authorization card to arrive?

From the time of filing, the waiting period for the employment authorization card to arrive can vary widely depending on the service center that applies to your jurisdiction.

The following are the approximate processing times for the I-765 application for employment authorization by service center:

California Service Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 2-5 months

National Benefits Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 4-6 months

Nebraska Service Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 3-5 months

Potomac Service Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 3.5 months to 5.5 months

Texas Service Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 1.5 to 5 months

Vermont Service Center

EADs based on a pending I-485 adjustment of status application: 2.5-5 months

Please click here for more information about the I-765.