We are seeing long delays in the adjudication of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, processed by the National Benefits Center (NBC). Processing times for the NBC as of September 2018 indicate that I-765 applications based on pending I-485 adjustment of status applications range from 4.5 to 6.5 months. All other I-765 applications for employment authorization range in processing time from five to seven months. Similarly, current processing times for I-131 applications at the NBC range from 4.5 to 6.5 months.
USCIS reports that I-765 and I-131 applications filed concurrently with an I-485 adjustment of status application, particularly those filed with the NBC based on the “Dates for Filing” chart contained in the monthly Visa Bulletin, are undergoing a “second review” to determine underlying eligibility for adjustment of status. These reviews do not currently have a timeframe for completion, and in some cases, appear to be slowing down the overall processing time for I-765 and I-131 applications pending with the NBC. This review must be completed before employment authorization or advance parole may be granted.
There is, however, an expedite process for applicants if they meet at least one of USCIS’s expedite criteria, which must be supported by evidence. The NBC has specifically stated that a single letter from the applicant, without additional supporting documentation, will not be sufficient. The following are the bases on which an expedite will be considered:
- Severe financial loss to company or person;
- Emergency situation;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
- Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);
- USCIS error;
- Compelling interest of USCIS.
In our experience, most successful expedite requests are those that are based on unanticipated, family emergencies, but some of our clients have prevailed on other bases. If you would like assistance with an expedite request, please contact us.