Unapproved Advanced Parole after EAD Card Approval

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Receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is a huge step forward for those hoping to work legally in the United States. However, many individuals find themselves stuck in a difficult situation when their EAD card has been approved but their Advance Parole (AP) document remains pending. Fortunately, there are strategies to cope and even proceed with your career plans until your AP is approved and you can begin working and traveling freely. Understanding the process, exploring the available options, proactively addressing the issues, and seeking help are all important steps needed to ensure you have the best shot at success.

Understanding the Difference Between EAD and AP Cards

EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and AP (Advance Parole) cards are both related to USCIS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—but they are authorized for different reasons. Understanding the difference in purpose between the two cards can help those dealing with a situation wherein their EAD card has been approved, but their AP card has not.

The EAD card is issued by USCIS to eligible foreign nationals who have already been granted permanent residence status in the US and authorizes them to work in America. In contrast, the AP card enables individuals to travel abroad without having to apply for a visa or wait for approval for reentry into the country. It grants them permission to temporarily leave the country and then return with ease—essentially serving as an advance notice that a person intends to return from international travel within 30 days.

The AP card necessitates its application process, which may take several weeks after filing before approval is issued. Since it is a special document, it needs additional processing time for USCIS to verify that the individual will return following their international trip and authorize them for reentry into the country.

When to file an Inquiry for AP Card Status?

Applicants are encouraged to file a follow-up inquiry if they have not yet received an approval or denial notice for their AP card after 30 days. Unfortunately, USCIS may have lost, misdirected, or misplaced the application. An inquiry can also be filed if applicants received a Request for Evidence (RFE) but did not submit one or more documents that were requested by USCIS.

If opting to file an inquiry to seek updated information related to the status of the applicant’s AP card, it is important to make sure all documentation is included in the packet that is sent via mail. The packet should include:

  • A cover letter explaining the issue and outlining what documents are enclosed;
  • The original EAD card copy;
  • A copy of the application and supporting documents previously sent with the original application;
  • Any RFE notices previously received; and
  • Identification documents such as a driver’s license or passport.

What happens if the AP Card is Not Approved After EAD Approval?

If you have received an approved EAD card but your AP card has not yet been approved, you may be wondering what to do in the meantime. The most important thing to remember is that you are protected by the law, and your rights must be respected. The following strategies can help you cope with the situation until your AP card is approved:

  1. Keep All Documents in a Safe Place- Make sure to keep all documents related to your pending AP application in a safe place, as these can prove invaluable if there is ever a disagreement about the status of your application. Having copies of all documents also ensures that you can quickly reference them if needed.
  2. Get Legal Advice- If you believe that your employment authorization has been wrongfully denied, it’s wise to seek legal counsel so that they can help you understand your rights and pursue any possible legal avenues. 
  3. Speak Out- It’s important to raise awareness about any negative experiences that are encountered when seeking employment authorization. Speaking out on social media or through other outlets can put pressure on employers to ensure their practices remain compliant with immigration law.
  4. Identifying Potential Issues- When you receive approval for your EAD, but your AP is still pending, the first step is to try to identify any outstanding issues that could be the cause of the delay. Make sure all of your paperwork is in order and all documents are up-to-date. If you know you have submitted everything correctly and it matches exactly what was requested, then the next step is to contact USCIS.

USCIS customer service will be able to provide more information on why there could be a delay in the processing of your AP card. It could be that further evidence or additional documentation needs to be provided or it could indicate an error in the form submission. Whatever the reason may be, speaking with customer service will help you gain some clarity on why your AP card is not approved yet.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when trying to identify any potential issues with the application process:

  • Check if there have been any recent updates related to immigration policy changes.
  • Look out for emails from USCIS regarding changes or requests that have been made about your application.
  • Monitor updating processing times on the USCIS website which indicates how long certain applications take compared to others.

Exploring Temporary Work Authorization Options during the Waiting Process

If you’re in the middle of the laborious waiting process and your AP card has still not arrived, there are options available to you that can provide temporary access to employment opportunities.

  • Asylee Employment Authorization- Asylees are eligible to start working one year after their asylum applications have been approved if they have not yet received an AP card. This authorization has a validity period of one year and must be renewed every time it expires.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)- This authorization is used by people from countries that are suffering from extreme civil unrest or natural disasters. Applicants must renew their TPS status each year until they get their permanent residency status. People with TPS can start working immediately after submitting their application.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)– DACA protects from deportation and allows applicants to apply for renewable two-year authorization periods that permit them to work in the U.S. Those who want to apply must meet certain criteria defined by the Department of Homeland Security and they also need to submit documents that prove they arrived in the U.S as minors under 16 years old.

Negotiating Work Schedules or Part-Time Employment during the Approval wait

For many individuals, the wait for an AP card can be a difficult financial time due to lost wages and other unexpected costs. However, there are several strategies you can use to minimize the financial impact of the wait.

  1. Working Part-Time- If you’re able to, consider taking on a part-time job or shift when waiting for your AP card to be approved. Many employers are willing to negotiate flexible shifts or hours to help employees in similar situations.
  2. Negotiating Vacation Time- If you’re employed under a full-time role, try negotiating with your employer for paid vacation days or unpaid leave during the period when your AP has not yet been approved. Depending on the organization’s policies, this can be a great way to ease into full-time work after approval arrives.

Negotiating flexible work schedules can help ensure that you don’t find yourself in an even worse financial situation while waiting for approval. Employers recognize the stressful nature of these situations and will likely be willing to accommodate them if they’re able.

Tips for Effectively Dealing with the Situation

If you have had your EAD card approved but have not yet received approval for your AP card, it can be a stressful situation. You may be in limbo, feeling like you still can’t move forward with travel or employment plans. Here are some effective strategies for dealing with the situation:

  1. Stay Positive- Remind yourself that the approval process for an AP card is not always quick and straightforward, and can take weeks or months to complete. It is important to stay positive and be patient during this time — worrying will not speed up the process.
  2. Reach out to your Assigned Officer- You can reach out to the USCIS officer assigned to your case if you’ve been waiting an especially long time. The officer can help provide an estimate of processing times for your application. They may also be able to provide a sense of assurance that everything is progressing as it should.
  3. Utilize Available Resources- There are online resources available that can provide helpful tips and advice on how to handle this type of situation. Additionally, there are organizations available specifically to help those who have been affected by similar delays in approval times. Taking advantage of these resources can make all the difference during this difficult time.
  4. Managing Anxiety over unpredictable AP Card Approval Timing- Unexpected delays with the AP card approval can lead to a feeling of helplessness and frustration. However, people who are in this situation can take steps to manage their anxiety and keep their sense of well-being intact.
  5. Take Time for Self-Care- Although this is a difficult situation, it is important to balance work and other commitments with moments of self-care. Taking time out for activities that bring joy and relaxation can help restore energy levels and reduce stress. For example, taking time for leisure activities such as painting, going for a walk, or listening to music can help clear the mind from worrying thoughts and create a sense of inner peace.
  6. Make Connections with others in Similar Situations- Building a network of people who are in similar situations as you can provide emotional support which may come in handy during times of distress. There are various online forums where people share their experiences with the EAD/AP card approval process, offering valuable resources on how best to deal with anxiety and delay-related issues. Talking about your anxieties is another helpful tactic that can provide relief from the stress associated with waiting for an AP card approval.
  7. Find Ways to Reach out Professionally- Taking the initiative to reach out professionally while waiting on an AP card approval can be beneficial in terms of career development. Look into freelance opportunities or potential volunteer positions that may lead to future job offers or even just fulfilling new skill sets. This proactive behavior will not only keep busy while waiting on the AP card but could also lead to useful connections which may turn out fruitful down the line.