USCIS Provides Guidance on Employment Authorization Documents Based on Compelling Circumstances

USCIS has issued a policy guidance for non-citizens applying or renewing the Employment Authorization Document in “compelling circumstances.”

“For an applicant to be eligible for an initial EAD based on compelling circumstances, they must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The principal applicant is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd employment-based preference category;
  • The principal applicant is in valid E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status or authorized grace period when they file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
  • The principal applicant has not filed an adjustment of status application;
  • An immigrant visa is not available to the principal applicant based on the applicant’s priority date according to the relevant Final Action Date in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin in effect when they file Form I-765;
  • The applicant and their dependents provide biometrics as required;
  • The applicant and their dependents have not been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors; and
  • USCIS determines, as a matter of discretion, that the principal applicant demonstrates compelling circumstances that justify the issuance of employment authorization.”

The USCIS policy is applicable to both “principal applicants and their dependents,” and it "provides a non-exhaustive list of situations that could" potentially be considered “compelling,” along with required information to be provided as evidence. For example, a scenario involving serious illness or disability could give rise to "compelling circumstances."

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Categories: Immigration Blog