Can I apply for a work authorization card through OPT and through the marriage based adjustment of status? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the things that I love to do is go talk to the international students at various universities nearby and a lot of times they find themselves marrying a US citizen. When I go to give my talks, I’m usually talking about optional practical training, which is the program after an affluent student completes their studies at a US university or college and they want to go work for a year or longer based on the extension of their F1 visa status where this optional practical training lets them go work for an employer. You have to be sort of careful about when you apply for your work authorization card towards the end of your study so that you have it filed on time and filed properly and all those things.
In those situations where an international student is eligible for OPT and is also marrying or has married a US citizen, they often ask us, well, should we go ahead and apply for a work authorization just on OPT or should we file it just based on marriage or should we file both? Of course, it generally depends on the timeframe of things. Obviously, if you get married before you graduate, you’re going to be able to get a work authorization that way, and there’s probably no reason to file for both, but if you’re going to need a couple of months in status or a couple of months for your ability to work, if you can work faster by getting your employment authorization document, your EAD, your work card through OPT, optional practical training, that’s going to be better than just waiting for the spouse case to get underway because it’ll take about six months, five or six months, for you to get a work card based on marriage.
The biggest issue with the answer to this question is the timing. Which comes first? Do you graduate first? Do you get married first? Do you file first? All these are things that you have to sort of plot out and there’s no rule that says that you can’t apply for a work authorization on both. Now, every now and then it does screw things up a little bit. Sometimes you might get assigned two different USCIS numbers or alien numbers, but generally it works out okay and you’re always going to give back your work cards when you get your green card anyway.
Our advice is always go ahead and file for both. Always take advantage of whatever immigration benefits that you can. I forgot to mention this video was requested by T. T, I hope this makes sense. I hope you understand that, and I answered you on Facebook in the chat that you could apply for both and you should apply for both. Hopefully you did or you’re planning on it.
Long and the short of it is don’t be worried about applying for an EAD through OPT and an EAD through adjustment of status. It’s okay. It’s okay to file for two. You’re not going to want to request a social security number for each one. You’re just going to want to get your social security number and stick with it. You don’t have two social security numbers cause that will screw things up, but we hope you found video helpful. We hope T’s able to get their green card and get their work hard and get all squared away immigration wise.
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