New Streamlined EAD / SSN Process Launches

New Streamlined EAD / SSN Process LaunchesWith a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA,) some foreign nationals using the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, can now streamline their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Social Security number (SSN) applications. The new streamlined process applies to foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications who need both an EAD and a Social Security number (SSN) for lawfully work in the United States.

With the revised Form I-765 application, which includes additional questions necessary for SSN documentation, applicants can request both documents by filling out just the one form. The revised form reduces the application hurdles in the documentation process. With the earlier Form I-765, applicants filed for an EAD and then submitted additional paperwork at local Social Security offices to obtain an SSN.

“Starting today,” according to the USCIS announcement on the topic, “USCIS will transmit the additional data collected on the form to SSA for processing. Moving forward, applicants who receive their approved EADs from USCIS should receive their Social Security card from SSA within the following two weeks.”

The purpose of an EAD is to provide documentation to show employers that foreign-born individuals are authorized to work in the United States over a certain period of time. Employers use SSNs to report worker wages to the government. SSNs also provide a tracking method in terms of an individual’s eligibility for certain benefits.

Beginning in 2015, USCIS officials began redoubling efforts to improve agency proficiency and to provide better customer service. In late 2015, for example, the agency launched Emma, the USCIS virtual assistant available to online users and developed in response to a growing interest in self-help tools and to enhance overall customer service. Other improvement efforts include Twitter office hours, which lets USCIS customers ask questions directly to officials and to request guidance over the microblogging site as well as the launch of the USCIS mobile app, which allows users to access agency information and resources over mobile phones.