On May 4, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased the automatic extension period for employment authorization and employment authorization documents (EAD) for certain EAD applicants to a maximum of 540 days. This interim final rule is designed to ultimately reduce the processing time for EAD renewals and will also alleviate the challenges often faced by employers and employees. 

We bring clarifications in this article.

Who is eligible for this extension?

The automatic extension will apply to certain EAD renewal applicants, including applicants for adjustment of status, H-4 spouses, E and L-2 dependent spouses. To be eligible, applicants must file Form I-765 in a timely manner prior to the expiration of their current EAD, and the renewal application must be in the category eligible for an automatic 180-day extension. To find a complete list of categories eligible for this automatic extension, just click here.

This policy includes all pending EAD renewal applications and applicants whose work authorization may have expired after the initial 180-day extension. The reform also applies to all eligible EAD renewal applicants applying between May 4 and October 26, 2023.

As of October 27, 2023, the validity period of the employment authorization and EAD for eligible applicants is automatically extended to 180 days. This rule does not apply to applicants seeking preliminary approval for a work permit.

Automatic Extension of Certain EAD Work Permits: A Relief for Many

Work permits are granted to all categories of immigrants, including green card applicants, spouses of H-1B and L visa holders, and workers in temporary protected status.

In recent years, USCIS has been sued over processing delays that have forced some individuals to withdraw from work while waiting for their EAD to be renewed. “Many foreign workers are on the verge of losing their work permits or have already lost them due to USCIS delays,” said David Jones, managing partner of the Fisher Phillips Memphis office. “This change will allow employers to immediately recall covered workers who had to be furloughed or terminated and also prevents them from losing many others whose work authorization was about to expire 

The new reform will immediately benefit approximately 87,000 workers who had filed for renewal and are currently or will soon exceed the automatic 180-day extension period. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ processing of EAD extensions for workers not covered by the rule change may also be expedited, Jones said, because the agency may be able to prioritize them against covered EADs.

“On the other hand, this does not bode well for the overall backlog,” he added.     

‘’The creation of an automatic 540-day extension by USCIS, shows that these applications may still be very late in the foreseeable future.’’

Jones concluded by noting that despite the changes, employers should continue to ensure that employees submit extensions as soon as possible to help prevent the risk of work permit expiration.

Work permit holders can apply for a renewal up to six months before their documents expire.

If you would like the assistance of an immigration specialist in a particular proceeding, schedule a personal consultation with attorney Richard Herman by calling 1-800-808-4013 or 1-216-696-6170, or by booking online.  Consultations can be conducted via zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, facetime, or in office.

 

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