If you are in the United States and have applied for asylum, you are allowed under the law to apply for work authorization six months after you file for asylum.
While the Biden Administration acknowledges that only Congress can change the law to enable a faster process for asylum seekers, the Administration is trying to accelerate the process for those on parole status.
Unlike asylum seekers, those on parole status can apply for work authorization as soon as they enter the United States.
Starting October 1, 2023, USCIS will expedite employment authorization (EAD) applications for parolees who scheduled an appointment through the CBP One app to gain legal entrance to the United States. For those applications USCIS has stated its goal is to decrease the processing time from 90 days to 30 days.
For parolees who entered as part of the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan parole processes, USCIS has also stated that its goal is to decrease EAD applications to 30 days.
If you entered the U.S. in that category, you may have received an email or text message regarding the ability to apply for work authorization. Only a small percentage of those paroled with the the assistance of the CBP One app have applied for work authorization, so the Biden Administration has utilized USCIS to send more than 1.4 email and text notifications to raise awareness of parolees' eligibility to apply for EADs.
EAD Validity Periods for Asylees and Refugees
Along with its announcement regarding EAD acceleration, USCIS announced that it will “increase the maximum validity period of initial and renewal EADs” to five years for certain noncitizens. Categories of noncitizens who are eligible for the five-year EAD eligibility are as follows:
- Those admitted as refugees;
- Those granted asylum;
- Recipients of withholding of removal;
- Those with pending applications for:
- Adjustment of status;
- Cancellation of removal.
This is extremely welcome news, as it will hopefully reduce any gaps in employment that those with certain pending USCIS applications experience.
If you need assistance with applying for a work permit or another immigration petition, please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.