I-485 Denied: What Happens to EAD and Your Next Steps

When an I-485 application for Adjustment of Status is denied, it raises pressing concerns about the validity of an applicant’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The denial of Form I-485 does not immediately impact the EAD; however, an EAD is typically dependent on the status of the pending adjustment application. Thus, while the physical EAD card may have a future expiration date, its validity is essentially tied to the I-485 application’s approval.

Employment authorization under an EAD connected to a denied I-485 becomes precarious.

The immediate effect is not the revocation of the EAD but rather a lack of proper status which undermines the right to employment. It is imperative for individuals to understand that continuing to work after an adjustment application is denied can have serious ramifications on future immigration benefits and may also place employers at a risk of violation of immigration laws.

Applicants find themselves in a complex situation when faced with the denial of an I-485. They must assess their options meticulously. Some may consider filing a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider the denial, while others might explore alternative immigration statuses or relief. Consulting an immigration attorney becomes crucial at this juncture to navigate the post-denial landscape, maintain compliance with immigration regulations, and evaluate the feasibility of maintaining legal work authorization in the United States.

Understanding I-485 Denial

When an individual’s Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is denied, it marks a significant setback in their quest for lawful permanent residency in the United States. A denial can occur for various reasons, such as ineligibility grounds, application errors, or insufficient evidence to support the applicant’s case.

Common reasons for denial include:

  • Inadmissibility: The applicant may be deemed inadmissible due to health, criminal, security, or other grounds.
  • Application Errors: Filling out the form incorrectly or failing to provide all necessary information can lead to denial.
  • Insufficient Evidence: Lack of sufficient documentation to prove eligibility.

Immediate Consequences:

  • Work Authorization: Employment Authorization Document (EAD) linked to the I-485 process may lose its validity upon denial.
  • Legal Status: The applicant’s legal status may be jeopardized, leading to accrual of unlawful presence or other legal complications.

Applicants must review the denial notice carefully, as it provides specific reasons for the denial and information on the right to appeal or motions to reopen or reconsider the case. Given the complexity of immigration procedures, consulting an immigration attorney for personalized guidance is generally advisable.

Note: An EAD that is not based on a pending I-485 but on a different valid immigration status may not be affected by the I-485 denial.

Consequences for Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

When an individual’s Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is denied, it has direct repercussions on their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). As a general rule, the validity of an EAD is contingent upon the I-485 application. If the I-485 is denied, the EAD typically becomes invalid.

Validity of EAD Post-Denial:

  • Automatically Invalid: When USCIS denies the I-485, the linked EAD is usually considered invalid immediately.
  • Revocation Process: USCIS doesn’t necessarily physically revoke the EAD card, but its validity ceases in the immigration records.

Employers and employees should understand the following:

  • Employment Prohibition: The individual is not legally permitted to work in the U.S. using the invalidated EAD.
  • Employer Obligations: Employers must verify that their employees are authorized to work in the U.S. Employing someone with an invalid EAD can lead to legal issues for both the employer and the employee.

Confusion may arise from the possession of the physical EAD card, which may have a future expiration date. However, the date on the card doesn’t extend the authorization to work if the I-485 has been denied.

In some cases, an individual may have alternative legal status that permits them to continue working in the United States. They must transition to a different form of authorization if that is available to them. It’s crucial to seek legal advice to explore any alternatives and ensure compliance with U.S. immigration law.

Options After Denial

When an individual’s I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is denied, their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) status also comes into question. Here are some actions they may consider:

  • Status Check: They should first verify the validity of their EAD. If the EAD was granted under a category that does not solely rely on the pending I-485, it may still be valid.
  • Employment Eligibility: Working with their employer is crucial. The employer may require legal consultation to determine if the person can continue employment under the current EAD.
  • Reapply or Appeal: The individual may be eligible to reapply for the I-485 or file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision, which could extend their EAD validity under certain circumstances.
  • Legal Advice: Seeking advice from an immigration attorney can provide guidance on the best course of action, including assessing other possible immigration options.

It’s important for the individual to act promptly, as continuation of work without valid authorization can have serious legal consequences. Additionally, any form of legal action, such as an appeal, usually has strict deadlines that must be met.

Legal Considerations and Rights

When an individual’s Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is denied, their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) associated with that application generally loses its validity. It is important for individuals to understand their rights and the legal implications of such a denial.

  • Validity of EAD Post-Denial: An EAD is typically contingent on a pending I-485 application. If the I-485 is denied, the EAD is often invalidated. This means the individual is no longer authorized to work in the United States under that EAD.
  • Employer Obligations: Employers are required to ensure that their employees have valid work authorization. Should an EAD be invalidated due to an I-485 denial, employers may terminate employment based on the lack of valid work documentation.
  • Appeal Rights: The denial of an I-485 provides the applicant with the right to be informed about the reasons for denial and the potential to file an appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider the decision if they believe it to be incorrect or unjust.
  • Status After Denial: The individual must consider their immigration status post-denial. They may have to leave the U.S. unless they have an alternative lawful immigration status or pending immigration proceedings that permit them to stay.

It is crucial for individuals whose I-485 has been denied to:

  1. Review the Denial Notice: Understand why the application was denied.
  2. Consult an Immigration Attorney: Obtain professional advice on the next legal steps and other possible immigration options.
  3. Consider Future Applications: Becoming familiar with other potential pathways to maintain a lawful status in the U.S. can be beneficial.

Rights and legal considerations after an I-485 denial are complex, and maintaining lawful status should be a priority for any affected individual.

Planning Next Steps

After an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is denied, an individual’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may no longer be valid, particularly if the EAD was granted on the basis of the now-denied I-485. As one plans their next steps, understanding the implications on employment authorization is crucial.

Immediate Action:

  • Review EAD Validity: Individuals must confirm the status of their EAD. If the EAD was issued alongside a pending I-485, it typically becomes invalid after the I-485 denial. Employment must not continue if the EAD is no longer valid.
  • Consult an Attorney: Legal counsel can provide personalized guidance. They may help to explore options such as filing a motion to reopen or reconsider the I-485 decision, or potentially filing a new application if circumstances allow.

Potential Paths:

  1. Motion to Reopen/Reconsider: One might file this if they believe the denial was based on incorrect application of law or if new evidence has emerged.
  2. Re-apply: If eligible, one can file a new I-485, possibly rectifying issues that led to the previous denial.

Maintaining Status:

  • It is important to maintain lawful status. If an individual has a non-immigrant status independent of the I-485, they may remain in the US on that status.
  • Departure from the U.S.: If no other legal status is held, the individual may be required to leave the United States to avoid accruing unlawful presence.

In all cases, it is most beneficial for individuals to act promptly and seek professional legal advice to navigate post-denial circumstances effectively.