When someone’s applying for an adjustment of status, either straight from another type of visa or they’ve already come into the United States on a K1 fiancé visa and gotten married, part of that process involves applying for temporary work authorization at the same time.
Lawyers will present the typical process as you apply for your adjustment with all of your different things and then you get a receipt notice. They take your fingerprints and then you receive temporary work authorization. You have an interview about the green card and then you receive the green card once the case is approved. Even though that’s the standard way we present a case, it’s not necessarily the only way that things happen.
One of the concerns we hear from people is that they have not gotten their work authorization but they have been scheduled for an interview. Does that mean their work authorization isn’t coming? The truth is that the work authorization and the timing of the interview are not related to each other.
They seem like they should be but they’re separate applications and they’re going on different tracks inside USCIS. It’s not a problem. In fact, it probably means your case is being processed more quickly which is a good thing to have if you’ve got your interview for the green card before you even have your work authorization.
Work authorization usually takes at least 90 days from when you apply with your adjustment and work authorization application. In recent years, there have been huge delays. We’ve seen people waiting five or six months to get those work authorizations.
But if you get your interview earlier than that, some people get their green card and they never end up getting work authorization because they got their green card even faster than their work authorization. Don’t worry if that happened to you. That would not be a cause for alarm unless there is some other odd factor that is specific to your case.