Can I Work While Waiting for Adjustment of Status?


Can you work while waiting for adjustment of status? Find out here from a trusted attorney familiar with immigration services.

Can I Work While Waiting for Adjustment of Status?

In the United States, you can work while your application is pending, provided the validity of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is viable. 

Anyone applying for an adjustment of status is eligible to apply for a work permit by filing a concurrent application. Although you are legally in the U.S. and have submitted an application to which you are fully eligible, you still aren’t guaranteed to work legally or get a work permit. 

Conditions Stipulated by Immigration Services When Applying for a Work Permit

Some of the conditions stipulated by the immigration services when applying for a work permit include:

  • Have a pending Form Status Adjustment Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • Have a pending Form I-589.
  • Have a nonimmigrant arrival-departure record status such as F-1 or M-1 student, that allows them to be in the United States but denies work authorization without first seeking permission from USCIS.

After receiving your green card, you are automatically elevated to a lawful permanent resident status with the full right to work legally.

Some migrants have work visas called ‘incident to status,’ which allows them to work after becoming lawful permanent residents. Those with pending decisions are eligible for a work permit application, but those with criminal convictions or who have faced arrest cannot secure employment authorization documents in the state of Texas.

What Is an Adjustment of Status?

The adjustment of status is the application process for foreign nationals present in the United States to obtain a green card. Going back to your home country upon expiration of your permit/visa is not mandatory when someone applies for a green card through an adjustment of status process. The government allows you to remain on U.S. soil until the USCIS completes its processing of your application.

You must have a valid visa for U.S. authorities to adjust your status. You won’t be able to submit an adjustment of status application if you do not qualify for lawful immigration status. Additionally, adjusting your status to a green card commences by ensuring your eligibility for the specific type. 


How Much Is the Filing Fee for Adjustment of Status?

For most green card applicants, the fee is $1,140, plus an $85 biometrics fee. If you’re under 14 and filing with your parent’s I-485, you’ll pay $995; if filing on your own, you’ll pay the full filing fee of $1,140.

What Is the Adjustment of the Status Application Process?

After qualifying for an adjustment of status, there are five steps that you need to follow to submit your application.

Step 1 – Green Card Sponsor Must File I-130 Visa Petition

The person who acts as your sponsor will file a Form I-130 Petition for an alien relative with the authorities, namely the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), on your behalf. It acts as proof that you and your U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor have a relationship that forms the basis for the application.

For an employment-based immigrant petition, your specific employer is responsible for filing a sponsor petition.

If the processing times for the responsible government agency lack quotas for your specific card, you can file a concurrent application. You will submit both Form I-130, I-485, and the supporting documents simultaneously.

Step 2 – File Form I-485 Once USCIS Approves I-130 Petition

The official adjustment application status follows a non-concurrent application upon approval of the I-130 petition, and you must have a visa number.

To work with a pending petition, you’ll file Form I-765 and Form I-485 together to get a work permit. Similarly, to travel abroad with a pending green card, you’ll file Form I-131 with your Form I-485 to get an Advance Parole travel document.

Advanced Parole Eligibility

There are only two conditions for applying for advance parole. First, you must prove that you are a current resident of the U.S. Secondly, have a bona fide reason to travel abroad and have a pending application for adjustment of status process.

The advance parole document usually arrives within 150 days (wait time may be longer) after submission. You can’t travel abroad until you have the approved travel document in hand, so you must spend the following 3–5 months after the submission of your green card application in the United States. Mandatory supporting documents must accompany all the forms.

Step 3 – Attend Biometrics Appointment

After a while, green card applicants will be invited by USCIS to attend a biometrics appointment. They take your biometric information, including photos, fingerprints, and signature, to aid a criminal background check in the FBI’s database.

Step 4 – Attend Green Card Interview

USCIS may invite you for a green card interview at their local office. The decision is based on the information from your application and the result of their criminal background check.

Step 5 – Your Green Card Application Will Be Approved or Denied

USCIS sends the verdict for your application shortly after your interview. The physical green card document is mailed to your new address shortly after if they approve your application.

You can see the status of your application by entering your filing fee receipt number into the USCIS online case tracker.

The process can be pretty technical, and the input of a naturalization & citizenship lawyer can come in handy. With over 15 years of experience in immigration at Michael G. Murray P.A., you can find the necessary legal advice, support, and representation for your case. We deal with a wide range of immigration law matters, including adjustment of status, citizenship, deportation defense, family immigration, and special immigrant juvenile status cases.

To learn more about what it takes to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, contact us at (512) 215-4407 today!

Can I Work While My Green Card Application Is Pending?

If you currently live in Texas, United States, and are interested in working for a U.S. employer while your green card application is pending, you will need a work permit first. When it comes to a valid work visa, such as an H-1B or L-1, you may work even with a pending green card application.

The work permit application is filed with the initial green card application package for relatives of U.S. citizens. However, relatives of green card holders must apply for eligibility confirmation to file their green card application before applying for a work permit.

What Is My Status While I-485 Is Pending?

Form I-485 must be filed to register a foreign national’s permanent residence or adjustment of status. This process can take anywhere from 7 months to 6 years after the priority date, depending on the type of green card. 

The length of your processing time also depends on errors detected and whether there was the issue of insufficient evidence. USCIS website regularly updates the application processing times.

Status With Pending Application

Even with a pending application, you continue to live in the U.S. under your sole valid status. Applicants in H-1B status and pending adjustment of status application remain that way until expiration. 

Note that a pending petition does not bestow lawful immigration status on you. It merely classifies you in a particular immigrant visa category, which forms the basis for applying for status adjustment.

Adjustment of Status Work Permit

Green card status applicants in the U.S. are eligible for employment authorization cards (work permits). 

Consular processing applicants must wait on their home country for permanent resident status approval. On the other hand, adjustment of status applicants may obtain an employment authorization card and seek meaningful work while waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve the green card application. 


Applying for an Employment Authorization Card

When filing an Application to Adjust Status, you may apply for a work permit concurrently. The adjustment of status applicants may file the form throughout the period the status adjustment is pending.

What Documents are Required When Applying for a Work Permit in the U.S.?

The following documents are required when applying for a work permit:

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • Copy of government-issued photo identification (i.e., passport)
  • Copy of Form I-94 nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record
  • Passport-style photos (2)
  • Copy of I-485 receipt notice

From our experience offering immigration lawyer services in Austin, exceptional circumstances require additional evidence. For complete directions that cover your situation, refer to the USCIS filing instructions or reach out to our law firm. 

How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help You

Countless people wish to live in the U.S. to escape the political environment in their home country, join family members, or improve academic, occupational, and financial opportunities. 

However, the immigration system is complex and difficult to navigate. Working with our success-oriented law firm grants you a qualified Austin immigration lawyer who will make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

With over 15 years as an immigration lawyer and experience as a criminal public attorney, Michael G. Murray, P.A., and his law firm, are committed to offering honest counsel and skilled representation to get your case status appeal confirmed. Contact us at (512) 215-4407 today and let us help you out with your adjustment of status application or other immigration issues.