United States: Category (c)(9) on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), including a description of the associated rights, procedures to obtain, maintain and renew such a status
In order to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), "[c]ertain aliens who are temporarily in the United States" (US) can submit form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (US 12 Feb. 2010, 1). Category (c)(9) refers to an EAD applicant who has also filed for adjustment of status (ibid., 4; Immigration Attorney 14 May 2010; US 19 May 2010).
Adjustment of status is the way in which an eligible individual who is in the US can become a permanent resident without returning to his or her home country for visa processing (US n.d.; US 19 May 2010). In order to apply for adjustment of status, an individual must file form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status (ibid.; US n.d.).
An individual whose application to adjust status is pending must provide documentation attesting to this fact when he or she applies for an EAD (US 12 Feb. 2010, 4). Alternatively, the applicant can concurrently file Form I-765 and I-485 (ibid.; US 19 May 2010). In particular, the instructions for form I-765 state:
A. Adjustment Applicant --(c) (9). File form I-765 with a copy of the receipt notice or other evidence that your Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is pending. You may file Form I-765 together with your Form I-485. (US 12 Feb. 2010, 4)
According to a US-based immigration attorney, an individual who is issued a category (c)(9) EAD has the right to reside and work in the US until such time as a decision is made regarding his or her application to adjust status (assuming the individual is not deemed removable for some other reason) (14 May 2010). Similarly, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sources indicate that those possessing a category (c)(9) EAD may legally work in the US while their application to adjust status is pending (US 19 May 2010) and while their EAD is valid (US 12 June 2008). A USCIS Representative stated in correspondence with the Research Directorate that the EAD category (c)(9) is not a valid travel document. The USCIS Representative also stated that EADs are usually valid for one year, "with limited exceptions" (US 19 May 2010). With respect to what individuals must do to maintain their status once they obtain a category (c)(9) EAD, the USCIS Representative wrote that
[it] would be dependent upon their underlying status. For example, most non-immigrants who file their I-485 have, in effect, abandoned their status as a non-immigrant because they have established intent to permanently reside inside the U.S. This is not true for all non-immigrant categories. (ibid.)
According to the Immigration Attorney, if an individual's application to adjust status is still pending when his or her EAD is due to expire, the individual can apply to renew their EAD under category (c)(9) (14 May 2010). Similarly, the instructions for I-765, indicate that individuals falling within category (c)(9) may apply to renew their EAD (US 12 Feb. 2010, 7). The Immigration Attorney stated that individuals with pending applications to adjust status commonly renew their EAD many times (14 May 2010). The Immigration Attorney stated that, in her experience, it can sometimes take 10 years or more for an application to adjust status to be processed (14 May 2010). Corroborating information regarding the length of time it takes to process an application to adjust status could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Immigration Attorney [Philadelphia]. 14 May 2010. Telephone interview.
United States (US). 19 May 2010. Department of Homeland Security. Correspondence with a representative of US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS).
_____. 12 February 2010. Department of Homeland Security. "Instructions for I-765, Application for Employment Authorization." <http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765instr.pdf> [Accessed 14 May 2010]
_____. 12 June 2008. Department of Homeland Security. "USCIS to Issue Two-Year Employment Authorization Documents (EADs): New EADs Limited to Certain Individuals Who Have Applied for LPR Status." <http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/2yrEAD_FAQ_061208.pdf> [Accessed 19 May 2010]
______. N.d. Department of Homeland Security. "Adjustment of Status." <http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac8924 3c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=2da73a4107083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=2da7 3a4107083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD> [Accessed 14 May 2010]
Additional Sources Consulted
Publications, including: Code of Federal Regulations - Title 8: Aliens and Nationality.
Internet sites, including: Chang & Boos' Canada-US Immigration Law Center, Immigration Equality.