Dear Sophie! Is there anything I can do to speed up the EAD renewal process?

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Here is another edition “Dear Sophie”, an advice column answering immigration questions about working in tech companies.

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“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above boundaries and achieve their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you work in HR, are a founder, or are looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I am happy to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase an annual or two-year subscription with a 50% discount.

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Dear Sophie,

I have an L-2 visa as a dependent spouse on my husband’s L-1A visa.

My EAD (work permit) expires in May – we applied to extend my visa and EAD a few months ago. How long does the current process take?

Is there anything I can do to keep this from affecting my employment?

– Career

Dear Centered!

I have great news for you and other L-1 spouses—and your employers! As long as your visa remains valid, you will no longer face job interruption due to delays in obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Thanks to a policy change by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), obtaining a work permit is now easier for the spouses of L-1 visa holders, as well as for some other categories. As Elon Musk said This week, for anyone who wants to work hard in the US, immigration should be an “easy task.”

Fast processing time

Over the past two years, EAD processing times have increased dramatically due to a combination of delays caused by the pandemic, funding issues, and paper-based USCIS processing procedures.

Depending on which USCIS service center processed the EAD renewal application (Form I-765), timeframes ranged from about 90 days to over a year. It is interesting to note that this can take from 7.5 to 14.5 months. handle EAD at the California Service Center. At a Texas service center, this can take anywhere from two to 13 months.

Composite image of immigration lawyer Sophie Alcorn with the TechCrunch logo in the background.

Image credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Litigation causes big policy change

Last September, a group of dependent visa holders filed class action against the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of USCIS. Lawsuit filed on behalf of dependent spouses N-1B and L-1 visa holders, many of whom were forced to stop working when USCIS was unable to approve and submit new EADs before their current ones expired due to significant processing delays.

To make matters worse, an EAD renewal cannot be filed more than six months before it expires.

Credit: /

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