USCIS Announces Temporary Extension of Employment Authorization Period for Certain EAD Renewal Applicants

Published: April 8, 2024 by Vijay Thakkar

On April 4, 2024, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made a significant announcement regarding the extension of employment authorization for certain applicants. The new rule, which takes effect April 8, aims to provide relief to individuals awaiting the renewal of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

The EAD is a crucial document that allows eligible non-citizens to work legally in the United States. EADs are typically issued for a specific period, and applicants must renew them before they expire. However, delays in processing EAD renewals have been a concern for many applicants, leading to uncertainty and potential gaps in employment authorization.

In all, up to 800,000 immigrants were at risk of losing their work permits due to the expiration of their EADs. The recent change will significantly benefit two major groups: assylum-seekers and foreign nationals.

The Temporary Final Rule

  • This marks the second time during the Biden administration that an extension has been announced, now granting a 540-day validity period for EADs. The initial extension, announced in 2022, had a sunset date of October 27, 2023, after which automatic extensions reverted to the standard 180 days. Importantly, the new extensiond covers all categories of immigrants previously included in the 2022 extension.
  • Under this temporary final rule, the automatic extension period for EADs has been significantly extended. Previously, applicants whose EADs were pending renewal could benefit from an automatic extension of up to 180 days. Now, this period has been extended up to 540 days.
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Applicants who timely and properly filed their Form I-765 applications on or after October 27, 2023, and whose applications are still pending as of April 8, 2024, will be eligible for the extended automatic extension.
    • Applicants who timely and properly file their Form I-765 applications on or after April 8, 2024, and on or before September 30, 2025 (which is 540 days after the publication of this temporary final rule in the Federal Register) will also benefit from the extended extension period.
  • Eligible applicants falling under either category can continue to work legally in the U.S. during the extended period while awaiting their renewed EADs.

This extension prevents work-authorized noncitizens from experiencing lapses in employment authorization while awaiting USCIS adjudication of their pending EAD renewal applications. The USCIS’s decision to extend the automatic extension period for EADs is a positive step toward alleviating the challenges faced by applicants. By providing a longer grace period, the agency recognizes the importance of work authorization for non-citizens and aims to reduce anxiety during the renewal process. The new rule will be effective April 8, a few weeks short of the 180-day mark for EADs that expired after the October sunset and the extensions granted for 180 days will convert to 540-day auto extensions.

Employers and employees are encouraged to review the official USCIS documentation and seek legal advice if needed. Remember that this temporary final rule is subject to any future modifications or clarifications, so staying informed is crucial. For the full details and official text of the temporary final rule, please refer to the Federal Register.

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