In order for a person to be granted U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status, they need to file a petition with the immigration authority and complete the entire process. But unfortunately, it can take years for a green card to be issued — a fact that even immigration authorities are aware of.

Because of the long wait, applicants are granted some temporary benefits while their green cards are pending. These include an employment authorization document (EAD), otherwise known as a work card, as well as an advance parole travel document or travel permit. These can be used by applicants who are waiting for their green card applications to be approved.

Important Things to Know About Work and Travel Permits

Work and travel permits are only temporary benefits granted for green card applicants. To be able to utilize them wisely and correctly, the following are important to be aware of.

Expiration Date

EAD cards and advance parole travel documents, or work and travel permits, respectively, are only documents that reflect temporary benefits. Hence, these have an expiration date. The Biden administration has set the validity date of work cards and travel permits for two years, after which they can no longer be used.

Separate Permits vs. Combo Cards

Old work and travel permits came separately. But immigration has compiled both documents in a single combo card that can be used to exercise temporary benefits for work and travel. Applicants that are given work and travel permits should check their work cards and identify if it indicates that it is also valid as I-512 advance parole.

If this provision is present, the applicant is holding a combo card. If not or there is an express provision that the card is not valid for re-entry to the U.S., they should have received two separate documents: one for the work permit and another for the travel permit.

Being aware of details about the temporary work and travel permits helps an applicant maximize their benefits while their green card application is pending approval. An immigration lawyer can further answer questions about EAD cards and advance parole travel documents.