Have you had to apply for an EAD (employment authorization document) card before, only to have to start the re-application process again just a few months after receiving your card?
You are not alone, and while the quickness of that turn around may feel frustrating to you, it seems to likewise be frustrating for USCIS employees. The validity length for EAD cards depends on what kind of immigration status a person holds in the United States. For some visa holders, an EAD card only lasts for one year, which means that after about six months of holding it, the renewal process starts again. USCIS has already been struggling with an EAD backlog - in a process that previously took about three months, the average wait time to receive an EAD card currently often takes longer than a year.
Now the USCIS is trying to change those statistics with its latest EAD policy alert - which announces that in the interest of “reducing the burden on both the agency and the public,” certain filing categories will be issued initial and renewal EAD cards with up to a two year validity period.
These new guidelines are effective February 7, 2022, and affect the following filing categories:
- Asylees and Refugees;
- Noncitizens with withholding of deportation or removal; and
- VAWA self-petitioners.
Please note that EAD cards for these categories will be issued for up to two years. For those applicants who have an authorized stay that is temporary in nature, the EAD will only be issued up to the end of their authorized deferred action or parole period.
Also, we want to MAKE VERY CLEAR that this policy change only affects EAD cards issued after February 7, 2022. Even if your filing category matches one of those listed above, your EAD renewal date will not be affected if you received your EAD card before February 7, 2022, and you will still have to renew your EAD before it expires. For EAD cards issued before February 7, 2022 USCIS will continue to issue replacement EADs with the same validity dates as the original EAD.
This is a welcome change, and follows USCIS' June 2021 policy shift of issuing two year EAD cards to adjustment of status applicants.
If you have questions about obtaining or renewing your EAD card 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.