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What, if any, are the benefits of filing for an EAD while waiting for an I-485 approval, assuming the applicant is from a country for which there is no wait for visa numbers and has plenty of time left on their H-1B?

Filing for a EAD requires filling out forms and paying filing fees, so it would be good to know if there are any benefits to it if you expect the greencard to arrive soon anyway. It would be especially interesting to know if it somehow helps if there is a layoff from the employer while waiting for the I-485.

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First of all, EAD (as well as Advance Parole) is free to apply for (and free to renew indefinitely) for I-485 applicants, so you do not pay any "filing fee", and there is no downside. You don't have to use it if you get it, and you don't lose anything if you don't use it, but it is always better to have the option to use one if a sudden need comes up for it, even if it is unlikely.

You don't know that your green card will "arrive soon anyway". The time that Adjustment of Status takes varies a lot and in some cases can be years. On the other hand, EAD and AP come in a predictable timeframe. If your work terminates unexpectedly for whatever reason, you can use the EAD to work for a new job without the new employer needing to petition you for H1b. (You did not say what category of immigration you are doing; if you are doing employment-based immigration petitioned by your current employer, how a termination of work may affect your I-485 is a whole other discussion that may depend on factors like how long your I-485 has been pending.)

  • Thanks. It seems I was mistaken about the filing fees. It would be employment-based and the category would be EB2 or EB3, not sure exactly which. So what would in this case happen if I-140 and I-485 are filed concurrently, EAD is received and employment is terminated before the greencard arrives? – Markus Hallmann Sep 30 '17 at 4:14
  • @ValkoSipuli: The employer can withdraw the I-140 if I-485 has been pending less than 180 days (of course the employer can continue the I-140 if they want; there is no requirement that you work for them before you become a permanent resident; but they do have the power to withdraw it). As I understand it, after I-485 has been pending for 180 days, they can no longer withdraw it, as long as you are still working in the same type of job. – user102008 Sep 30 '17 at 14:52

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