New Employment/Travel Card for Green Card Applicants

February 14, 2011

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Feb. 11, 2011, that it will start issuing a single card to evidence both employment and travel authorization. This new card will only be available to individuals applying for permanent residence, commonly known as a green card, on Form I-485, an application to adjust status.

Employers must accept this new card as a List A document if presented by an employee in completing section 2 of Form I-9, the employment eligibility verification form. List A documents are those documents that establish an employee’s identity and his or her authorization to work.

Most individuals, who have applied for a green card, will no longer need separate employment authorization and travel documents. This single card will serve as proof of their employment authorization and will allow them to travel abroad and return to the United States without abandoning a pending I-485 adjustment application. Parole status allows them to remain in the United States while their green card application is being processed.

To apply for this new card, an individual will have to file a Form I-765, application for employment authorization, concurrently with a Form I-131, application for travel document. Both of these forms must be filed with Form I-485 or after a Form I-485 has been received by USCIS but not yet approved.

The USCIS said it will issue the card for a period of one or two years depending on when the green card might be available for the applicant. It also indicated it will continue to issue separate employment authorization and travel documents as warranted.