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Take A Look At The New Document That Can Be Used To Complete the I-9 Form - The New Joint Employment And Travel Authorization Card

Berin Romagnolo April 8, 2011

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has recently begun issuing a new card - combining the old Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) document into one.   Advance Parole, generally, grants a foreign national permission to travel internationally within stated dates.  The new document, called the I-766 Advance Parole EAD, will verify both work authorization and travel permission for the dates noted on the card.  It looks very similar to the laminated, credit card-sized EAD card, but it will contain an additional line on the card reading "Serves as I-512 Advance Parole."  A picture of the new card can be found at the end of the attached USCIS Questions and Answers document.  Employers should become familiar with this new card since employees can now present this card to fulfill I-9 requirements.  The I-9 is the form that, generally, all employees must complete within the first three days of employment to verify their identity and work authorization.  The I-9 Form states that the I-766 is an acceptable document to prove both identity and work authorization.  This new I-766 Advance Parole EAD card can now be presented to complete I-9 obligations.

There are several benefits to the new I-766 Advance Parole EAD card.  First, employees now only need to carry one document when they travel, instead of both the EAD card and the paper AP document.  Second, the laminated, new card is more durable than the traditional, letter-sized paper AP document, and is less likely to be lost or damaged.  Third, the authorization dates could be twice as long.  For foreign nationals applying for a greencard category which is oversubscribed, meaning that there are currently no greencards available to issue to those applicants (ex: EB-2's from India or China and all EB-3's), the I-766 Advance Parole EAD card will be valid for two years, as opposed to one year under the old system.  This will cut down on the administrative burden and costs of re-applying every year.  If, however, there is a greencard available for the foreign national applicant, then the card will be valid for one year.  The USCIS retains the discretion to issue cards for longer or shorter periods depending on the circumstances of the case.

This new I-766 card is only available to greencard petitioners applying to adjust their status in the U.S. (by filing an I-485 form) based on either an employment-based or family-based petition, or a petition based on continuous residence since January 1, 1972.  If an eligible foreign national already has both an EAD and AP, and they have different expiration dates, s/he can apply for the new combined I-766 if both have less than 120 of validity left, or if the EAD has less than 120 days of validity and the AP is only for single-entry.  Such a filing has to be within 120 of the EAD's expiration date, and not earlier.  It may be beneficial to apply for a new card to take advantage of the new, longer two-year validity period, decreasing the burden and expense of applying every year.

For more information, please contact Berin Romagnolo.

This Alert is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.  According to Mass. SJC Rule 3:07, this material may be considered advertising. ©2011 Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP.  All rights reserved.

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