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Important Advisory Regarding EAD/AP Combo-Cards – New Cards May Not Be Valid for Re-Entry Into the US

Most applicants for adjustment of status concurrently apply for employment authorization (EAD) and advance permission to return following travel abroad, called advance parole (AP).  Approval of those two applications allows the applicant to work and, in limited situations, travel abroad while the adjustment of status is pending.  In these days when adjustment applications can take up to 2 years, these ancillary benefits are critical.

New EAD Cards May No Longer Be “Combo Cards”

Previously, two different separate documents were issued. In more recent years, both benefits were provided for on the employment authorization document (EAD).   The EAD card was annotated as being a “combo card.”

In the past couple months EAD’s have been issued with the notation at the bottom, “NOT VALID FOR REENTRY TO U. S.” At first there was concern it was an error.  Advocacy has brought to light that it is not a mistake. USCIS is attempting to work through the huge backlog of applications by issuing the EAD even if the travel document is not yet approved.

In fact, that step, in at least some cases, has shortened the EAD processing time by 3-4 months. We welcome that improvement, but it still leaves the travel document pending.

Review Your EAD Card Before Leaving the US!

We strongly advise everyone to look at their EAD card before leaving the U.S.!  You cannot any longer believe that you can travel upon receipt of the EAD!  Instead, you may need to remain in the US while your application is pending until you receive the advance parole document.  If there is a true emergency need to travel, contact us to discuss your specific situation, as the details of AP are beyond the scope of this notice.

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