USCIS Implements Longer Automatic Extension for EAD Renewal Applicants

Erick Widman

Earlier this month, USCIS announced that certain applicants filing for a renewal of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will now receive an automatic 540-day extension of their employment authorization while their renewal application is pending.

EAD renewal applicants in certain categories already received an automatic 180-day extension of their employment authorization while their application was pending, but USCIS has determined that 180 days isn’t enough. Until USCIS is able to expand staffing and catch up on their EAD backlog, applicants who meet the requirements will receive a 540-day automatic extension from the expiration date listed on their cards. This policy went into effect on May 4, 2022.

This new policy also applies retroactively to eligible applicants who filed EAD renewal applications before May 4, 2022. For example, if you filed your EAD renewal application in October 2021, because your EAD expired on November 1, 2021, you would’ve received a 180-day extension extending your EAD expiration date to April 30, 2022. Per the new policy, if you still haven’t received your new EAD before the extended expiration date, your employment authorization is now valid through April 25, 2023.

If have filed a renewal application for your EAD (form I-765), you are eligible for this automatic 540-day extension if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You filed your renewal application on time (before the expiration date listed on your EAD card).
  2. The category on your current EAD card matches the “class requested” listed on your form I-797C Notice of Action, Receipt Notice.
  3. Your renewal application belongs to one of the following categories (the eligibility category you listed on form I-765):
The eligibility category you listed on your Form I-765 renewal application Description
(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 have filed an EAD renewal application and your EAD has since expired, but you are eligible for the automatic extension, show employers your expired EAD card together with your I-797C Receipt Notice. Your receipt notice contains information about the automatic extension and is sufficient proof of your employment authorization, when shown together with your expired EAD card.

This is great news for EAD renewal applicants and their employers, as it will significantly decrease gaps in employment authorization. It has been an especially stressful time for many employees and employers alike, as USCIS has experienced significant delays in issuing employment authorization over the past couple of years. However, it also confirms that USCIS is extremely behind in processing these applications.

USCIS plans to end this policy on October 26, 2023. By then, they are planning to catch up on the EAD backlog, increase staffing, and improve processing efficiency, so that they are able to return to a shorter automatic extension period.

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