It is not often that the U.S. government admits to being inefficient and in trouble, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finally admitting to what we've all known for some time.
While the Biden Administration previously laid out steps to reduce USCIS backlogs, a few days ago USCIS Director Jaddou formally announced a temporary final rule, effective May 4, that has important implications for many people renewing employment authorization document (EAD) cards.
Under the new temporary rule, those in eligible categories who have filed to have their EAD cards renewed will have their employment authorization automatically extended for 360 days, on top of the 180 days of extended authorization those categories already receive. All in all eligible categories can have their work authorization automatically extended for 540 days.
Am I Eligible for an Automatic Extension of my Employment Authorization?
- You are only eligible for an automatic extension of your employment authorization if you have filed your Form I-765 under one of the following categories:
- (a)(3) Refugee
- (a)(5) Asylee
- (a)(7) N-8 or N-9
- (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
- (a)(10) Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
- (a)(12) Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
- (a)(17) Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E (including E-1S, E-2S and E-3S) nonimmigrant status*
- (a)(18) Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 (including L-2S) nonimmigrant status*
- (c)(8) Asylum Application Pending
- (c)(9) Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act
- (c)(10) Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997); Cancellation of Removal Applicants; Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants Under NACARA
- (c)(16) Creation of Record (Adjustment Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972)
- (c)(19) Pending initial application for TPS where USCIS determines applicant is prima facie eligible for TPS and can receive an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”.
- (c)(20) Section 210 Legalization (pending I-700)
- (c)(22) Section 245A Legalization (pending I-687)
- (c)(24) LIFE Legalization
- (c)(26) Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status
- (c)(31) VAWA Self-Petitioners
- If you file a Form I-765 renewal application on or after May 4, 2022, USCIS will send you a Form I-797C Notice of Action receipt notice that has information regarding the up to 540-day automatic extension.This Notice (along with your I-94 for certain categories) will serve as acceptable proof of employment authorization and/or EAD validity during the up to 540-day automatic extension period.
According to USCIS, the automatic extension time is counted from the expiration date of the employment authorization and/or EAD. This temporary increase is available to eligible renewal applicants with pending applications if you filed your Form I-765 renewal application either:
- Before May 4, 2022, and your 180-day automatic extension has since expired;
- Before May 4, 2022, and your 180-day automatic extension has not yet expired; or
- Between May 4, 2022 and Oct. 26, 2023, inclusive of these dates.
If you file your Form I-765 renewal application after Oct. 26, 2023, the normal 180-day automatic extension period will apply.
It is significant that USCIS is finally recognizing the delay in renewals of work authorization cards. Last year a class action lawsuit was filed against USCIS for its delay in processing EAD applications for noncitizens seeking Adjustment of Status (AOS) and E-2 nonimmigrant spouses. Some applicants were told by USCIS that their EAD applications would take up to 21.5 months to process, while by many accounts it takes just 12 minutes to actually process an EAD application once it is on the right person's desk at USCIS. We are hopeful that this new temporary rule will allow USCIS to catch up on the backlog of EAD applications that it has.
If you have questions about filing an EAD renewal or are wondering how long your EAD will be extended for, 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.