USCIS confirms delays in issuance of employment authorization documents and green cards

USCIS has confirmed that there are delays in the issuance of employment authorization documents (EADs) and green cards.  The backlog stems from system maintenance at the agency’s primary card production facility.  Foreign nationals with an approved application for employment authorization (Form I-765) or permanent residence (Form I-485) should expect to wait an additional two to three weeks longer than usual to receive their card.  USCIS has indicated that it plans to complete maintenance and eliminate the backlog by the end of September.  

The latest delay adds to the already lengthy processing times for EAD applications.  As the USCIS Ombudsman recently reported in its 2015 report to Congress, USCIS is taking longer than the 90-day maximum processing time prescribed by regulation to adjudicate many Form I-765 applications. 

What the Card Production Delays Mean for Employers and Foreign Nationals

The card production backlog could delay employment start dates for foreign nationals awaiting issuance of a new EAD, and could affect those working pursuant to an EAD that is close to expiration or has expired.  Employers with workers affected by the EAD backlog should contact their Fragomen immigration professional to discuss how the delay will impact employees’ ability to work.

Lawful permanent residents who are awaiting a new or renewed green card and who have an imminent need to travel abroad should also reach out to counsel to discuss their options.  

Employers and foreign nationals should be prepared for the possibility that the USCIS may not resolve the backlog by the end of September, as announced.