In the good old days, pre-2018, the USCIS gave priority to processing work permit requests (form I-765), generally issuing employment authorization documents (EAD’s) within 90 days or less. Applicants with Work permit applications pending for more than 75 days could file an e-request to find out the status of the case. But oh how things have changed!
The Trump administration apparently does not care much about backlogs and excessive processing times, which have generally doubled for many kinds of immigration cases over the past year and now seems to care even less about giving priority to work permit issuance. Never mind that Residency applicants cannot work, obtain a social security number or in many cases even drive legally in most states without the Work permit, what could possibly be the rush?
Given the anti-immigrant rhetoric and near disgust this administration has for immigrants, it’s no wonder that the average processing time for such a vital immigration document can now take from four to six months, nearly double the normal processing time!
So for now, in the age of Trump, couples planning on getting married and filing for the immigrant spouse’s work permit need to factor these excessive processing times in when determining whether to wait and have big wedding or quickly get married at the courthouse and file the immigration case just to get in the queue for the long wait for Work permit issuance.
Residency applicants whose Work or Travel permits are within 6 months of expiring are well advised to file renewal immediately.