People whose applications for green cards are pending can work in the U.S. They can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to get work permits when they file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
They can either file applications for employment authorization documents (EAD) while filing Form I-485 for adjustment of status or after filing Form I-485. In case they file later, they need to file Form I-765 along with a copy of the receipt notice that they received after filing Form I-485.
They can legally work in the U.S. with their EADs until the USCIS approves their green card applications. USCIS generally issues work permits valid for a year. Beneficiaries of immigrant petitions who have filed for adjustment of status, can renew their employment authorization documents after one year, if their applications are still pending. To continue working, they need to file applications to renew their EADs before their old EADs expire.
Once green cards are issued, there is no need to renew the EADs as the U.S. permits legal permanent residents to work here permanently. USCIS will not take a long time to process their applications for work permits. It takes about 90 days to approve applications and grant EADs to eligible applicants.
Beneficiaries can apply for interim EADs in case they do not receive their EADs within 90 days. The interim EADs will be valid for 240 days. They cannot continue to work in the U.S. if they do not receive their EADs before the expiration of their interim EADs. In that case, they need to file applications for EADs again as interim EADs cannot be renewed.
Applicants can check the status of their pending applications online. If their applications for EADs are denied, USCIS will send them letters with reasons for denial. They can request the USCIS officers to reconsider their cases in case their applications are denied.
Updated on 06/24/2018