You Can Work While Your Marriage-Based Green Card Application is Pending

You Can Work While Your Marriage-Based Green Card Application is Pending

Many people who call or visit our office want to know whether they can work while their marriage-based green card application is pending.  The answer is yes, as long as you have received an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS during the process.

We routinely file the I-765 which is the form used to obtain a work card, even if our clients say that they never plan to work.  We do this for several reasons.  First, they sometimes change their mind.  Second, it is free.  Third, it provides proof of the pending immigration case and allows the holder to obtain a social security card and a drivers license and to open a bank account.

It just makes good sense so we always encourage our clients to request it.

This video explains the process of working in the U.S. while the spouse visa case is pending.  If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (314) 961-8200 or email us at [email protected]


Can I work while my green-card case is pending?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in Saint Louis, Missouri, and the basic answer to that question is yes. When we file our immigration paperwork for our green card marriage based cases we always make sure to file for a couple of other things as well. One is the travel document and what we’re talking about today is the EAD or Employment Authorization Document.

A lot of times the green card application process can take many months, and so a lot of people will want to know, can I work while that is pending, and the answer is yes. After you file your application you’re going to get fingerprinted. After you get fingerprinted, they’re going to conduct a background investigation. Once a background investigation is completed then you’re going to get an EAD in the mail.

It’s a little a red card. It looks like the green card and it says Employment Authorization Document on it. It’s good while your case is pending up to a year and it allows you to work in the United States. The other thing it does is it allows you to get a social security card and it also in Missouri it allows you to get a driver’s license, so it’s a temporary form of immigration identification that a lot of people, even if they’re not going to work want to make sure to include in their application.

There’s no additional filing fee for it so it really makes a whole lot of sense to file for the EAD. You file it on the form 7-65, it’s one page long, it’s very simple and you definitely want to do it. Like I said, it’s a form of authorization to work, and it also allows people to know that you’re in the country legally. It’s a nice thing to have. Now lately the green card cases have been processed so quickly that a lot of times those get approved even before that Employment Authorization Document arrives. But in the abundance of caution you want to make sure that you file for it.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you have your green card interview and you’ve received your Employment Authorization Document, you definitely want to bring that to the interview. Most likely the officer is going to take that EAD from you and you’ll get your green card in the mail shortly after the case has been approved. Sometimes he’ll take it from you. But if they don’t take it from you, I just heard from an immigration officer yesterday, you really need to make sure to return that EAD to the Immigration Office where your interview is because they keep track of who keeps their EADs and who turns them in. Even if they don’t formally ask you for them they expect you to turn it in. It’s important that you do so, because they’re trying to cut down on fraud and you wouldn’t want to ever get any kind of trouble for that.

A really easy process. Make sure you do it. It’s worth having, even if you’re not going to work. It’s a great form of temporary immigration identification in case you need it when dealing with your local law enforcement, or with the state government. If you have any questions about the EAD give us a call, 314 961 8200 or shoot me an email [email protected] and we’d be happy to help. Thanks.