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On June 14, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided guidance on the eligibility criteria for both initial and renewal applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) in compelling circumstances based on existing regulatory requirements. The policy guidance provides principal applicants and their dependents with a non-exhaustive list of situations that could lead to a finding that compelling circumstances exist, including serious illness and disability, employer dispute or retaliation, other substantial harm to the applicant, or significant disruption to the employer. The guidance also provides details on evidence an applicant could submit to demonstrate one of these compelling circumstances. Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The principal applicant is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd employment-based preference category;

  • The principal applicant is in valid E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status or authorized grace period when they file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;

  • The principal applicant has not filed an adjustment of status application;

  • An immigrant visa is not available to the principal applicant based on the applicant’s priority date according to the relevant Final Action Date in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin in effect when they file Form I-765;

  • The applicant and their dependents provide biometrics as required;

  • The applicant and their dependents have not been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors; and

  • USCIS determines, as a matter of discretion, that the principal applicant demonstrates compelling circumstances that justify the issuance of employment authorization.

To view the updated Policy Manual, click here. If you have questions about compelling circumstance EADs, please schedule a consultation today with one of our immigration attorneys. Source


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