Day 200: EAD Confusion Answered

May 1, 2015

Efrem called back to immigration and finally got through and conferenced me in so I could listen. But nothing they said was what we wanted to hear.

We told them we had moved, that we had changed our address, and that we had not received the EAD card yet. He said they show it as having been delivered to our previous address and that it wasn’t returned to the center. After a pause, we’re asked them if they were going to send another one? We need to get this card. The answer: USCIS doesn’t re-issue duplicates, so we have to refile the entire I-765 all over again, and wait another 3 months for a new card.

I was livid, struggling to keep from screaming on the phone since I was at work. This has to be the most ridiculous process ever. The EAD was already approved. The card gets lost in the mail, and instead of looking at the application they already have in hand and re-issuing a card, we have to start all over again. Also, the filing fee for the I-765 as a replacement is $380—it was free when filing with the I-485, but as a replacement, it costs money. The guy said they should waive the fee since it was a USCIS error and that I should write a cover letter explaining the situation and resend the application, with all supporting materials, but without the fee. My concern was, however, was what happened if they wouldn’t accept the application without the fee?—Answer: “then they’ll reject the application and send it back.” And then we’ll be left to refile a THIRD time, with the money that time, which, of course, would prolong the process even further. The guy tried to be reassuring, that this application should be expedited, but given that USCIS doesn’t seem to do anything with any expedience, I won’t hold my breath.

It’s also a gamble because as I said previously, while we changed our address on one case number receipt, our I-485, back in January, I didn’t realize that I had to change our address for each individual case open (despite the fact that it’s ALL processed through USCIS), so I didn’t change our address with the I-765 until late March, around the time that the card would’ve been delivered. But it never occurred to me that this would be an issue, since USCIS has communicated with us via USPS for everything, and they’ve automatically forwarded all of our mail from the old place to our new place. Everything except the EAD. Which, makes me think that it was never delivered. There was tracking information on the ‘My Case Status’ website, but it’s since disappeared, so I guess we’ll never know, and I never wrote down the tracking number to even be able to follow up with USPS. 

Efrem tried a hail mary and went back to our old apartment and asked the new resident if anything was delivered —nope, ask the landlord. He knocked on the landlord’s door. He supposedly didn’t have it either. So despite the change of address being my error (although I’m not going to admit to that in our letter to refile), USPS clearly never re-delivered the card after their first delivery attempt, and now it’s probably sitting in someone’s warehouse in a bin somewhere. So I’m blaming faulty delivery.

The frustrating part for all of this, is that without his EAD he is ineligible for a Louisiana State ID or driver’s license, as well as EMPLOYMENT itself. Even worse, he tried to go back to the DMV with just the approval letter (because again, what’s written online in the LA state book about immigrants and driver’s license is self-contradictory in terms of what they state you need, and also in conflict with what the people in the office state he needs—not that they actually know or bother to read the statutes or anything), and now they’re saying that the law has changed again, and that not only will he need his EAD to get a license, he will now be required to take a 30 hour drivers course because the exemption from the driver’s course that most states have if you’ve EVER had a driver’s license, has been rescinded to only foreigners from countries with a direct exchange with LA, which is only 2 countries in Europe, and definitely nowhere in Africa. Great. So in addition to waiting on this document, he will now have to take a $400, 14-hour pre-licensing course with a third party to teach someone who’s been driving for 10 years how to drive. Typical, Louisiana.