The immigration process is lengthy and a long wait is often involved before applicants can get an update on their applications. Recently, however, the processing times for immigration cases have significantly increased, which delays the issuance of combo cards that applicants need to work and travel while their cases are pending.

What is a Combo Card?

A combo card, which looks similar to a U.S. driver’s license in appearance, is a document that grants an applicant both work authorization and an I-512 advance parole travel document in the interim of their cases.

Prior to the combo card, these two documents were issued separately. Now that they have been combined in one card, it becomes easier for applicants to manage their affairs and eliminates the need for them to take several documents for their work and travel needs while their cases are pending.

Why You Haven’t Received Your Combo Card

The processing times for combo cards have been drastically delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS is still trying to catch up and meet its workload demands that have been missed during office closures and lockdowns.

But USCIS recognizes the need to speed up the issuance of work authorization documents, which is why they have expedited the process of adjudicating work card applications. However, they have not put the same priority on the issuance of travel documents.

Because of this, applicants will usually receive their word card approval first with their travel document request still pending. At the moment, USCIS cannot issue combo cards until both documents have been approved.

Did You Get a Combo Card or a Separate Work Card?

It’s important for applicants to check if the card they received in the mail is a combo card or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) only. If at the bottom of the card, it is indicated that it does not serve as advanced parole, then it is just a work card and does not function as a travel document.