Virginia, US

Employment Authorization Cards (or EAD cards) are critical to both the individuals that possess them and the employers that require them to comply with IRCA. The current processing time for the USCIS to issue an EAD card is between 60 and 90 days. When someone relies on the EAD card to support themselves and their family, it is absolutely critical to renew the card in a timely manner.  Currently, USCIS allows such renewal applications to be filed up to 120 days before the EAD card expires. It is recommended to file the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) in a timely manner at least 90 days before the current EAD card expires to avoid the potential lapse in employment authorization.

At the present time, USCIS has these critical documents sent via regular mail.There is no formal confirmation of delivery that you would expect for such important documents. What happens then when the USCIS approves the EAD application and mails it to the applicant, but then the US Postal Service (USPS) either misplaces the mailing or it is lost or stolen from the person’s mailbox? This scenario, as unlikely as it may seem, is definitely happening more frequently than acceptable and people’s jobs are in jeopardy or lost because of this inefficiency in the system. People are losing their jobs because they cannot provide the new EAD card to their employers in a timely manner.

Lost EADs are Lost Forever

USCIS doesn’t have a policy in place to issue replacement cards, basically saying that the USPS is responsible for the delivery of the EAD. Someone that is victim to this scenario is then put in the position where they have to file a new application, wait a further 60 to 90 days for it to be processed and hope that the new EAD card isn’t lost in the mail.

At present, the USPS and USCIS do not have a system in place to ensure the secure delivery of EAD cards and there is zero accountability by either agency to provide a solution to individuals that applied for an EAD card and then never received it because it was lost, misplaced or stolen in the delivery process. USCIS will not reissue a new card nor will the USPS take steps to locate the parcel containing the card.

How Can We Eliminate Unnecessary EAD Card Loss?

It is my opinion that the USCIS and USPS should work together to ensure the secure delivery of these important documents. Secured delivery would either reduce the claims of lost or misplaced EAD cards or totally eliminate it. I recommend that the USCIS either has USPS send the cards via certified mail, return receipt requested or send them via private courier service. These options will clearly alleviate the recurring problem and seems the most effective solution. As a potential third alternative, individuals could be offered the opportunity to retrieve their EAD cards at the local USCIS District Office closest to their place of residence. There are definite solutions at hand. It is time for the USCIS to take action to resolve this concern.