Eligible Employees Get Carded by USCIS

02/17/2011

Combined EAD/Advance Parole Cards

Citing security and durability, USCIS announced last week that it is issuing combined employment and travel authorization on one card. Currently, applicants are issued two separate approval documents – a card for employment authorization and a paper approval for advance parole. The format of the card is virtually identical to the current EAD card, however, it includes text that reads “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” The cards are issued based on the filing of Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) after or with Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Employers may accept this new dual-purpose card as a “List A” document for purposes of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification.

Those seeking the convenience of one card should first examine the expiration dates on their current EAD and AP. The USCIS will only issue the new card if 1) both documents have less than 120 days of validity left, or 2) if the EAD has less than 120 days of validity left and the Advance Parole document was issued for a single entry. Applications for the single card will not be accepted if more than 120 days remain on the applicant’s current EAD.

H-1Bs for the Next Fiscal Year

Haynes and Boone, LLP reminds employers with H-1B petitions that are subject to the annual numerical limit (“Cap-Subject”) to begin making preparations to file petitions on April 1, 2011. Cap-subject H-1B petitions should be ready to transmit to the USCIS in advance of April 1, 2011 so that they arrive at the Service Center on that target filing date. In previous years, the numerical cap was reached on the first day of filing, leading to a “lottery” system of selection. Although the numerical limit was not reached as quickly during the last two years, no one is able to predict the volume for Fiscal Year 2012 filings. Some cases may be exempt from the numerical limit, and we encourage employers to closely examine each case to ensure that the correct designation is given.

Assessing Your Cap-Subject H-1B Needs

Be careful not to overlook current employees or transferring employees who might need to file an H-1B on April 1, 2011:

  • Consider whether you employ someone in L-1B status who might need to Switch to H-1B to gain an additional year of status
  • Identify F-1 or J-1 employees (using their OPT EAD) who will need an H-1B change of status
  • Determine whether any TN employees might want an H-1B before applying for adjustment of status (“green card”)
  • Investigate whether a new hire who currently holds an H-1B has already been counted against the cap or not (note that anyone who is coming to you from employment at a university or non-profit research institution may not have been counted and will now fall under the cap-subject category.)

You may also view the alert in the PDF linked below.

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