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I am waiting for my adjustment of status to be approved but my temporary EAD is expiring – what should I do?

A lot of our clients are finding themselves in a frustrating situation. They filed an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) and were issued a 12-month temporary work authorization (EAD). So far, so good, except that the EAD is about to expire and they still haven’t been scheduled for an interview in their adjustment case. What should they do?

This is a relatively new problem. Adjustment applications used to be processed fast enough that an applicant would be scheduled for an interview before her temporary EAD expired. Processing times of about eight months were fairly standard in the Seattle local office, for example. But not anymore.

The Trump administration has instituted a number of policies that have caused many different types of applications to take far longer than they used to. Adjustment applications, for example, now take well over a year at the Seattle office. So a huge number of adjustment applicants are now finding themselves stuck with EADs that are going to expire long before they are scheduled for an adjustment interview.

Don’t panic.

File a new Form I-765 to renew your temporary EAD.

To renew your temporary EAD you need to file another Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. According to USCIS guidelines, you can file the renewal application up to 180 days (roughly 6 months) before the expiration date of your current EAD.

For someone with a pending Form I-485, you qualify for renewal under the category “(c)(9).” That is the same category that was referenced when you applied for an EAD at the time you filed the Form I-485.

You will need to file your Form I-765 along with a copy of the receipt notice for your Form I-485 (which is issued on Form I-797 Notice of Action). Again, you do not need to include a filing fee due to your eligibility category.

The filing address for your Form I-765 is specific to individuals with pending adjustment applications. Go to this USCIS webpage and scroll down to where you see the information for “If You Have a Pending Adjustment of Status Application.”

Your EAD is automatically extended 180 days after you file the Form I-765.

Because of the serious problem with case backlogs, USCIS adopted a new policy in early 2017. Under this policy, your EAD is automatically extended for 180 days (roughly six months) at the time you file your Form I-765. When you file the Form I-765, you can therefore now use your filing receipt as proof of your work authorization.

Important: the Form I-765 does not authorize you to travel outside the U.S.

When you first applied for adjustment of status you probably filed both a Form I-765 and Form I-131. The Form I-765 is used for work authorization and the Form I-131 is used to request permission to travel outside the U.S. while your adjustment application is under review. When you got your first EAD, it probably came on a “combo card” – it called that because the card showed both your work authorization and also your “advance parole,” which is the permission to travel outside the U.S.

Filing a Form I-765 as described above is the proper procedure for extending your work authorization. But doing so does not automatically extend your permission to leave the U.S. To do that you must file a separate Form I-131 application. The Form I-131 may be filed at a different location as shown on this USCIS webpage. As shown on that page, the filing location depends on your Form I-485 receipt number.

You are not required to renew your travel authorization. But once the travel authorization has expired you cannot leave the U.S. before your Form I-485 is approved. If you do leave, your Form I-485 is considered “abandoned” and will be lost.

Greg McLawsen

I’m proud to be the founder of Sound Immigration. My job is to work behind the scenes to ensure our clients have an outstanding experience at our firm. I’m passionate about reinventing the practice of law to make it work better for those we serve. I work hard to identify the best available technology to make our firm convenient for clients. I look to other industries, like real estate and the restaurant business, to learn about practice that will help serve our clients better.

This Post Has 79 Comments

  1. Hi Greg, Appreciate your expert advice and help on this platform. Kindly suggest !
    My current GC -EAD expires Jan 21/2021( I am UNDER AOS- category C9) Awaiting GC interview.
    I sent I -765 form my GC EAD extension/renewal under C9 – AOS, along with I 485 receipt and current EAD card front/back copy.
    I did not send the photographs or ID copy. Could you please suggest if Photogarphs and ID is mandatory? what can I expect ?a RFE?

    1. Hi, Amol:
      Hopefully, they will let you skate by. They should use your existing biometrics for the extension… in fact, it’s unclear to me why they require photographs, since they aren’t used for the card anymore. If you do end up with an RFE and on a crunch for the extension, the fallback option is to try for an InfoPass appointment at your local office, but they won’t give you that until a couple weeks before your card expires.

  2. Hi Greg

    I just want to thank you for your article and the response to your article questions. I didn’t need to ask any questions, reading your article and your response to questions cleared everything about the renewal of ead. Once again, thank you for your help and for finding time to come online to answer questions to help everyone going through this process at this critical time.

    Thank you,

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for your time and care. My mother who’s a US citizen applied for my green card 5 years ago. I am currently on an F-1 student status in the states. USCIS has mentioned that I can apply for adjustment of status with i765 and i485 to be able to work while waiting around another 2 years for my green card to come through. I’ve had different advice given to me and see conflicting info on their site for this type of question– Can I apply for the work authorization and forms I mentioned above still being 2 years away from my green card, or is this only to be applied for when it comes closer to the time my green card comes to approve that work authorization card?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi, there ~
      You can’t apply for adjustment until your I-130 petition is approved (that’s the thing your mom filed). And you can’t file the I-765 until the I-485 is filed. So no, at least regarding your mom’s petition you can’t currently file for work authorization. At the end of your F-1, of course, you can look into OPT.

  4. Hi Greg,
    Came across your article as I was searching for answers to my situation. Wow, amazingly helpful article, and you have obviously updated it according to our current situation.

    I have a pending I-485, and I am going to renew my EAD/AP combo card. It was transferred to another office sometime along the way (transferred from LIN to NBC). Does that affect where I mail the the I-765 and I-131 renewal applications?

    You mentioned that both I-765 and I-131 will have to be filed again to get the EAD/AP combo card. If the filing address for both forms are the same, should I send them in the same envelope?

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice you can give!

    1. Hi, Yi ~
      No, sometimes USCIS balances its workload by moving cases from one service center to another. But you should still follow the normal filing instructions.
      Cheers ~

      1. Hi Greg! Thanks for all of this information. It has been so helpful.

        I have a quick question for you. I have a pending I-485 and I am in the middle of preparing my application to renew my I-765 and I-131 (EAD combo card). I am now realizing that I don’t have a paper copy of my I-797 receipt for my I-485 application (I received a text message from USCIS with my receipt number and have been tracking my case online). I am in the process of trying to expedite the I-797 receipt for my I-485 application with USCIS but I am not sure if I will get it in time to apply to renew my EAD combo card.

        Do you know if the I-485 receipt is mandatory to renew the EAD combo card, or is it only required to waive the filing fee? In other words, if I apply to renew my EAD combo card and include the filing fee, and write a letter noting my I-485 receipt number, is this is sufficient?

        1. Hi, Alexis,

          Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, I would expect that you will either get the application rejected or get a Request for Evidence if you don’t include the I-485 receipt. You could also file a Freedom of Information Act request for your Alien File, which by law is supposed to be issued in 20 days. (In reality, USCIS will take longer), but you can then file seek administrative review.
          Best, Greg

          1. Thanks for the quick response, Greg! I really appreciate the info.

            I will wait for my I-485 receipt then. USCIS says that you should apply to renew the combo card between 90 and 120 days of the expiration date for the combo card. Do you know what happens if you apply late (say 60 days before the expiration of the combo card). My I-485 category is (C)(9), so I should receive the automatic 180-day extension for my combo card once they receive my application.

  5. Hi Greg,

    I have a pending i485. I will need to renew my EAD soon, but my passport has expired and the embassy is closed due to COVID-19. Will this cause me problems renewing my EAD?

    1. Good question. USCIS has been pretty flexible (to their credit) about COVID closures, so I would still file for the renewal. Are you sure the consulate is closed for renewals? Usually those are handled by mail.

  6. Hello Greg,

    On April 07, 2020, the USCIS received my application for the I-765 but due to the COVID-19, I haven’t received my biometrics appointment. My I-765 will expire on July 15, 2020. How do I know if my application qualifies for the 180 days extension? Is a little confusing because on the receipt they send it has “eligibility category: C33” but on the bottom of the receipt is said that if I don’t receive the new EAD before the current EAD expires then the receipt notice of action automatically extends for up to 180 days from the expiration date. But the category C33 it doesn’t show in the list of extension. I will like to know if my work permit will have an extension of 180 days? If my employer will accept my receipt as proof of the extension?

  7. Hi Greg,
    my I-485 is still pending, when filing a renewal for both I-765 and I-131 which passport no do i give as while i filed I-485 i had old passport and that passport expired and now i have a renewed passport no, will this cause confusion


      1. thank you , i hope this will not cause any confusion do i submit a copy of my old passport too just to avoid ambiguity.

        thanks for your kind response


  8. Hi Greg,

    Just wanted to post a major thank you for taking the time to write this post and answer all the questions! My EAD is expiring in 3 months and I felt a major sense of doom once I realized I hadn’t filed for renewal. Reading through this post put me completely at ease and answered all the questions I had in my head. Applying for renewal was so much easier than I imagined. Thank you so much!


  9. Hi Greg,
    So my current EAD expires in the next three months and I just finished filling the renewal form (form i765) and my question is where do I send my renewal application to? Do I send or physically go to the local CIS office to turn it in? Cos I’ve been looking up where to send it and I keep getting different addresses. And it been almost a year since I applied and I’m still waiting for my interview, is there anything i should do??
    I’ll appreciate it if you could reply ASAP
    Thanks, Victor.

  10. Hello Greg,

    I am waiting for my marriage base green card interview and my EAD card will expire in a few months. I am getting ready to re-apply for a new EAD card and I got a little stuck. When I first filed the i-765 form, I was an F1 student and now I am not anymore. What would my answer be for : “25. Your Current Immigration Status or Category (for example, B-2 visitor, F-1 student, parolee, deferred action, or no status or category)”?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, Anju:
      It sounds like your status can be listed as F-1 overstay with pending adjustment application. The “pending adjustment application” isn’t strictly speaking a category, but will explain to USCIS what’s going on.

  11. Hi Thanks for taking your time to enlightening us.

    Issues Marriage based green card: On January 11, I filled concurrent filling. On January 26 received notice that we rejected your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, because it was not filed correctly. We mailed your case back to you, including any supporting materials and fee. Please follow the instructions to resubmit your case. If you do not receive your rejected case by February 23, 2019, contact the USCIS…. Since that date I’ve never received the package. I called and filled do not receive notice still nothing. No one at Uscis is able to help they just keep filed do not receive notice. What do you think should I do in this case.

    PS: my travel document has been approved.

  12. Hi,

    For I -765 renewal does passport photo need to be included as well? Or just I-765 form and copy of I-485 receipt sufficient?

    Thank you!

  13. Hi, I applied to renew my work permit August last year. I received my i797 stating my case has been received etc. Its now april 2019 and my 180 days automatic extension is about to he done and I still havent received my new work permit!!!! My job already said I will be terminated at the end of the 180 days. What should I do???

      1. I have the same problem as well with my husband. We had his interview back in February and we were missing his medical exam which we then mailed and its been over a month and still have not received his green card nor work permit and his 180 are coming up the first week of May. We did contact USCIS but can’t seem to get much information about the status, processing time for work permit renewal should be 5-7 months and we are now on the 8th month. I’m not sure if we haven’t received his new work permit because the green card is on its way but were only two weeks away from the 180 day extension to expire. I tried setting up an info pass appointment at our local CIS but they are not taking any appointments at the moment.

        1. Hi, Jasmine:

          We would normally start by filing a request for action with the USCIS 1-800 customer service number. After the expiration of the action time for that request (which will be stated in the written response) you can file a request for assistance with the Ombudsman office.


  14. Hi Mr. McLawsen,

    My husband’s status is still pending (he was b-2 visitor) and we are still awaiting an interview; however, we have to RENEW his Employment Authorization card. Question 25 on the updated i-765 form asks his current immigration status. Is it still b2 visitor – although we’re currently in case pending?

  15. My EAD expired Sept. 2018. In July 2018 I applied for renewal. It is now past the 180 day extension and I have heard nothing except fingerprints accepted. What do I do now? Had 485 interview in Nov. 2018 and still no decision. What do I do about my 765?

    1. Teresa, for your adjustment you should file a case action request by the 1800 number requesting adjudication. This is the first step to more aggressive intervention. For the EAD you can try an InfoPass appointment to ask for an extension stamp.

  16. How early can you file the renewal for EAD and AP? Some websites say 180, others say 120.

    How do you indicate they are renewals vs new in the forms? 131 and 765. Thanks

  17. Hi,
    I had a EAD and separate I-131 document based on the pending I-485 UNDER category of C-09. I lost my EAD and need to apply for replacement EAD. Do i need to pay the fees and can I request together for the combo card as i have the reniew my I-131.

    Please reply!


  18. Hi,

    Thanks for the informative article. I sent in my I-765 and I-131, but didn’t include a photo copy of the I485 receipt. I did include a photocopy of my EAD card though. Will my renewal petition be rejected? Also, how long does it typically take to get a receipt number, and does a receipt number signify that all the requirements have been met?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi, Ishan. You will probably be okay. The receipt should come within a couple of weeks. That doesn’t mean the application is complete though, and you will get a Request For Evidence for any missing items.

  19. Hi, my EAD card expired 2 minths ago and i just filed for renewal today, am i able to work with receipt now or i need to wait for actual card?

  20. Hi Greg,

    My wife is a homemaker. I came to US on L1A. Family came in on L2. We filed I-485 in Aug 2017. Got our EAD in Mar 2018. My wife’s EAD is expiring next week and owing to mis-communication with my lawyers, we are at this stage when they should have renewed. I will send I-765 and I-131 on 2/4. Do you think there is a risk if she is on Expired EAD while waiting to receive the Receipt Notice for having received the renewal applications, that would grant her extension for 180 days? She does not intend to work.

  21. Hi Mr. Greg,

    I am current waiting for my green card interview based on family based adjustment status (I-485). I had visited USCIS office. They told me the waiting time for interview will be 14.5 months to 20 months USCIS received my case 6/14/2018. I have already receive my EAD card and will expired in 8/12/2019. I will be hosting my own wedding back home(Out of state) in 8/11/2019, and I am traveling back in to US on 8/15/2019.
    I had already applied I-131 along with I-485 last year when I applied green card. I have noticed, by the time I am traveling back to US my EAD card will expired. In this case, I have to renew my EAD card and resubmit I-131? Do I have to pay any filing fee for either I-765(EAD) or I-131 ?

    1. If you had applied filed the I-131/I-765 together then you’d already have your advance parole (it comes on the same “combo” card). But in any event, filing fees aren’t required for EAD renewal applications for adjustment applicants.

  22. Hello Greg,
    My EAD card is about to expire. I applied for a travel document later based on pending i485 on after receiving current EAD . However my EAD is expiring in 9 months. if i have to reapply for i765, should i apply for travel document again though one is still pending?
    Please help.
    Ps: no interview notice received yet

  23. I think somebody can help me with my case I filed my forms February 2018 and I had my interview with the immigration office on July 2 2018 and since that I didn’t hear anything from them , may EAD will expire on mars 2019 I called the immigration 2days ago they said maybe it takes between 11 to 23 months I don’t know if I have to pay to renew my EAD or no and the problem I already had my interview 5 months ago I don’t why it took that much time thank you in advance

    1. I’m in the same boat as you, Karim. Interview with USCIS July 24, 2018 and EAD expires April 2019. I’m yet to hear an update on my case. I am planning to apply for renewal of my EAD per this article and not include a filing fee, as recommended. Texas Service Center, if that helps. Will provide an update on my application if anything changes.

      To Greg McLawsen – really appreciate the info on this blog, thank you very much!

        1. I applied for renewal of EAD and advance parole documents, and did not include a filing fee. I received I-797c notice of action documents in the mail from the USCIS Service Center in Texas informing me of the case status numbers associated with my applications (one for EAD renewal and one for I-131 advance parole). Now to wait for an update on these applications, as well as my filed I-485 from some time ago.

          1. We are also applying for EAD renewal (expiry 10-24-2020). Did you send I-765 & I-131 at the same time in the same envelope? What other documents (photos, etc) did you submit? Can we renew both EAD & AP 180 days prior to expiry? Thanks!

        2. Following up on this – received renewed EAD + AP combo card in the mail today. Valid until April 2020 (1 year extension) based on pending adjustment of status.

  24. Hi Greg please advise me on this. I filed for removal of condition and received 797C Notice Of Action receipt which dated 10/28/2017, I also received my SS card with DHS Autorization to work at that time no termination date on my SS card, I am also renewing my passport. Now I haven’t heard or received any extention from USCIS. I called them and was told my application was send to another facility for processing. Greg I wants to travel domestically. What do I show so I can get on a plane to other States. Is my Notice of Action still valid, will the airline and TSA accept my 797C.

    1. Yes – if you are a conditional resident with a timely filed I-751 then you can travel domestically with just the receipt notice (and green card and passport). TSA doesn’t screen for immigration status. On the off chance that a CBP officer runs an inspection – which they do periodically – this documentation should satisfy them, as you remain in LPR status by operation of law.

  25. I filed I-485 and I-765 last November. I already received combo EAD which is now close to expiring. I-485 still pending. I am filing form I-765 to renew my EAD. what is my current status? Pending I-485? Advance Parole?

      1. How many times can an EAD Be renewed based on a pending i-485? Also, i filed the 485 with the 765 almost two weeks ago (nov 3rd) and sent it to a lockbox ( as per uscis info page) but still have not received a notice ( today’s date is nov 15th). Whom should I call or should I wait longer? Thanks!

  26. Quick questions will i need to complete the I-765 worksheet if i am someone with a pending form I-485? Or can I simply complete the I-765
    Thank you so much for this post super helpful!

        1. I just filed mine and as long as you have a pending i-485, you don’t have to pay the fee for an EAD. Just make sure when do send your application in that you include a photocopy of your receipt that you received from filing your i-485.

  27. Hi, my I-485 is still pending as no interview has been done as of yet and my EAD (Which is Work and Travel document comined) , can i just fill 2 new forms for I-765 and I-131 and send them to USCIS.. do i have to pay any fee? first time i did not pay for this but only I-485 but not sure for renewal if i have to pay any fee.

  28. Hi I find your article to be very helpful with regards to my case…I filed for I-751 last year and had done with my biometrics after that..I received a 12 month extension that expired may of this year…I later got a notice notifying me that they moved my case to Nebraska..I got an 18 month extension early august in the mail..however this extension will be expiring this november…I called uscis and they told me to schedule an infopass online…I had been trying to get an appointment however there are no available appointment everytime I check…it says they will post appointment every 14 days…My question is what will happen if my 18 month extension expires while my case is still pending and no available appointment at the uscis field office?Is it possible for me to go to the uscis field office and obtain an appointment there if I cant make one online?

    I would really appreciate your response.
    Thank you!

      1. Hi greg thank you for your reply! I just want to clarify that im not looking for employment as of the moment, im currently a housewife, a young mother of an energetic toddler, also we are not planning on vacationing out of the country anytime soon, I’m just concerned about my status as a conditional resident. Just wondering if they would initiate deportation after the extension expires while the case is still pending. Thank you so much!

        1. Check out the post – it explains that you remain a resident until the 751 is approved (at which point you become a non conditional resident). Good luck with the toddler. If anything is tougher than US immigration law it is parenting.

          1. Comforting to hear my resident status would not be affect even after the notice expiring! Would the notice expiring affect our employment status though?

          2. Hi there!
            My EAD combo is expiring in December 2020 and my I-485 is still pending, when filing a renewal for both I-765 and I-131 do I need to repay the filing fee for both forms?

            Thank you!

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