Am I Qualified for Compelling Circumstances EAD??

Compelling Circumstances EAD could be another way to help H-1B holders stay in the US

Whether laid off or not, many individuals, especially H-1b visa holders are facing uncertainty of how to retain legal status to stay in the U.S. One of practical ways is to obtain the Compelling Circumstances EAD, which is a employment authorization to assist qualifying foreigners and extend their stay in the US. If you find your situation qualifying for the EAD application, complete your application as quickly as possible and make sure to track your case status with the most advanced USCIS case tracker.


  • You stay in the U.S. in E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status or on a 60-day grace period on the date you file the application for employment authorization;

  • You are the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140;

  • You can establish that an immigrant visa is not available based on your priority date as per the Final Action Date which is in effect on the date you file your application for employment authorization; and

  • You can demonstrate that compelling circumstances exist that would justify USCIS using its discretion to issue an independent grant of employment authorization.

Key Points

  • Examples of “Compelling Circumstances”
  1. Evidence of a substantial harm to you;
  2. Evidence of significant disruption to the employer;
  3. Evidence that the employer has retaliated against you;
  4. Medical proof of your or your dependent's serious illness or disability; or
  5. Other evidence that demonstrates you are experiencing compelling circumstances and
  6. The individual must not have been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors.
  • Your work authorization doesn't begin until USCIS approves Form I-765. Filing the Compelling Circumstances EAD is not a legal basis for work authorization.

  • The Compelling Circumstances EAD will be valid for 1 year upon approval. Additionally, the principal beneficiary may seek renewals of this EAD for themself and qualifying dependent spouse and children in 1-year increments If filing for a compelling circumstance EAD extension, the compelling circumstance does not have to be the same compelling circumstance as that for the first or any prior compelling circumstance EAD approval.

  • You will not be able to adjust your status in the US when your priority date becomes current. When you start working on a compelling circumstances EAD, you will no longer maintain a nonimmigrant status but will be considered to be in a “period of authorized stay”, as long as the EAD is valid. Therefore, you need to depart the US and obtain an immigrant visa through consular processing.

  • Depending on your circumstances, you may consider filing a Nunc Pro Tunc request to reinstate status in the US requesting the USCIS to issue a backdated I-94 if you are able to prove “extraordinary circumstances” which are beyond the control of the applicant or the petitioner. USCIS has the discretion of whether to accept it.

Better Way to Track Your USCIS Case Status

Download the Lawfully Case Tracker app on your phone. Enter a receipt number of your case and fill out all information including the filing date, the visa type, and the reviewing service center. Once you register a case, you don't need to visit the USCIS website anymore. Instead, the app will automatically give you a push notification when your USCIS case status is updated.


When you receive notifications, the app not only presents you with a USCIS message for your current case status, but also supplements the meaning of the message and what to expect in the next step.


Whereas the USCIS website simply displays and updates the status of your application, the Lawfully case tracker app obtains comprehensive information on your case for you: 1) the smart app predicts the expected decision date and processing times of your application, based on the data of the same visa type we have collected over the years. 2) it even generates the probability of the approval and RFE rate of your application. If you subscribe to Lawfully's Case Analysis Pro, you can register up to 10 cases and monitor "Your Ranking" among other users of the same visa type so that you are able to check how many applicants are ahead of you before the decision of your case.


Have you applied for a visa outside the U.S.? We are expanding the coverage of our case tracking, and you are now able to track your NVC cases with Lawfully as well. If you want to straighten out your long and complicated immigration journey, download the Lawfully App now!

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