On November 18, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a final rule introducing important changes for persons in the employment-based permanent residence process. These changes will expand the class of workers eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), and set guidelines on when employment-based immigrants may retain their “priority date” after departing their employers.
- EAD cards for workers with approved I-140 petitions
- The applicant is the beneficiary of an approved employment-based (EB-1, EB-2, or EB‑3) immigrant visa petition,
- The applicant is unable to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa stamp because her priority date is not current under the Visa Bulletin,
- The applicant shows “compelling” circumstances justifying the grant of an EAD.
- serious illness or disability faced by the worker or dependents
- employer retaliation against the nonimmigrant worker
- other substantial harm to the applicant
- significant disruption to the employer
- Grace period of up to 60 days for certain workers whose employment terminates
- Priority date retention even after I-140 petition withdrawal in certain circumstances
The new rule is slated to go into effect in 60 days after it is officially published. USCIS will likely announce specific application procedures in the coming months. Should you have questions regarding these new immigration rules, please do not hesitate to contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.494.9616.