USCIS recently announced a change in the processing of form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) that is commonly used by green card attorneys during the adjustment of status immigration process, including when submitting an application for a green card through marriage.

Green card applicants do not automatically have the right to work in the United States during the adjustment of status immigration process. If the person submitting the green card application is not currently in a lawful status that allows for employment, he or she would theoretically have to wait until the green card application was approved before being able to work. However, if the green card applicant also files form I-765 along with his adjustment of status package, he may be granted temporary authorization to work while the green card application is being processed (which could take six months, to a year or more).  The temporary work authorization typically affects those applying for a green card through marriage or other family relationship as those applying for other types of adjustment typically have to be in lawful status in order to apply.

In an effort to streamline the application process, USCIS is attempting to transition the initial processing of forms away from the individual service centers and, instead, having them processed at lockbox facilities.  Green card attorneys often have to adjust their office procedures with little or no notice when immigration officials change the way green card applications are handled. Thus, starting yesterday, green card attorneys (an pro per applicants) must send form I-765 to either a lockbox facility or the Vermont Service Center, depending on why type of benefit the applicant is seeking to work under.