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Can I do anything to speed up the EAD renewal process?  – Tech Crunch

Here is another edit from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the dissemination of knowledge that empowers people around the world to rise beyond borders and pursue their dreams,” says Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in people operations, founding, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

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Dear Sophia,

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

My EAD (work permit) expires in May – we applied for my visa and EAD extension a few months ago. How long is the current process?

Can I do anything so that my job is not affected?

— Career focused

Dear Center,

I have fantastic news for you and other L-1 spouses – and your employers! As long as your visa remains valid, you are no longer at risk of having your employment interrupted due to delays in obtaining your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Thanks to a policy change by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), obtaining work authorization is now easier for L-2 spouses of L-1 visa holders as well only for a few other categories. As Elon Musk said this week, for anyone who wants to work hard in the United States, immigration should be a “no-brainer.”

Skyrocketing processing times

Over the past two years, EAD processing times have skyrocketed due to a combination of pandemic-induced backlogs, funding issues, and paper-based USCIS processing procedures.

According to the USCIS service center that processed the EAD renewal request (Form I-765), the time ranged from about 90 days to over a year. Interestingly, processing EADs at the California Service Center can take between 7.5 and 14.5 months. At the Texas Service Center, it can take anywhere from two to 13 months.

Can I do anything to speed up the EAD renewal process?  – Tech Crunch

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

Lawsuit leads to big policy changes

Last September, a group of dependent visa holders filed a class action lawsuit against the Secretary of Homeland Security, which oversees USCIS. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of dependent spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders, many of whom were forced to stop working when USCIS failed to approve and send new EADs before the expiration of current ones due to significant processing delays.

The situation has been aggravated by the fact that EAD renewals cannot be filed more than six months before their expiration date.

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