USCIS Increases Automatic Extension Period for Certain Work Permits

Flag and work authorization card

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, published a Temporary Final Rule on May 4, 2022, that increases the automatic extension period for Employment Authorization Documents, known as EADs, up to 540 days. The increase will be effective beginning on May 4, 2022. The temporary final rule applies to those EAD categories currently eligible for an automatic 180-day extension and to those individuals who timely file a renewal of employment authorization prior to the expiration of their current document. Beginning Oct. 27, 2023, automatic extensions of employment authorization validity will revert to the up to 180-day period for those eligible applicants who timely file Form I-765 renewal applications. USCIS has set a goal of a three-month processing time for EAD applications by the end of September 2022. We'll believe it when we see it.

Noncitizens with pending EAD renewal applications whose automatic extension has lapsed and whose EAD expired will be granted an additional period of employment authorization beginning on May 4, 2022, and lasting up to 540 days from the expiration date of their EAD. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application still covered under the 180-day automatic extension will be granted up to an additional 360-day extension, for a total of up to 540 days past the expiration of the current EAD. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application and valid EAD on May 4, 2022, or who timely file an EAD renewal application before Oct. 27, 2023, will be granted an automatic extension of up to 540 days if their EAD expires before the renewal application is processed.

The automatic extension generally will end upon notification of a final decision on the renewal application or the end of the up to 540-day period, whichever comes earlier.

This temporary final rule will bring relief to many individuals, including many asylum seekers, who timely filed for renewal EADs and whose work authorization expired through no fault of their own. These individuals will no longer have to worry about losing their jobs and their ability to financially support themselves and their families due to USCIS’s failure to act on their applications within a reasonable period.

The following renewal applicants are eligible for an automatic extension:

  • Asylees and refugees: (a)(3) and (a)(5)
  • Asylum applicants: (c)(8)
  • TPS holders: (a)(12)
  • TPS initial applicants with prima facie case eligible for EAD as “temporary treatment benefit”: (c)(19)
  • Adjustment of status applicants: (c)(9)
  • Registry applicants: (c)(16)
  • Legalization, LIFE Legalization and SAW applicants: (c)(20), (22), and (24)
  • VAWA self-petitioners: (c)(31)
  • Withholding of deportation or removal granted: (a)(10)
  • Applicants for suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal, including NACARA cancellation: (c)(10)
  • Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands or Palau: (a)(8)
  • N-8 and N-9 nonimmigrants: (a)(7)

Under the new rule, a timely renewal application submitted by an applicant in one of the categories listed above will automatically extend the existing EAD by up to 540 days if the renewal is for an EAD in the same category.

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