USCIS Extends EAD Auto-Extension Period
USCIS has implemented a temporary final rule to automatically extend the validity of certain expired or expiring Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for up to 540 days. Previously USCIS permitted a 180-day auto-extension for certain EAD renewals.
The temporary policy is effective May 4, 2022 to October 26, 2023, after which USCIS expects to revert back to the 180-day period. The measure comes as USCIS struggles to eliminate its historic case backlogs and processing delays.
The rule permits applicants who have a pending I-765 EAD renewal application in a category that is eligible for automatic extension to have their EAD validity period extended for up to 540 days beyond the current EAD expiration date.
- The automatic extension will end 540 days after the current EAD expiry date, or when USCIS issues a decision on the EAD renewal application, whichever is sooner.
- If the initial 180-day auto-extension period has lapsed, but less than 540 days have passed since the EAD expiration date, applicants in the eligible categories may resume working while the renewal application remains pending for up to 540 days from the EAD expiry date.
- The 540-day extension period applies to EAD renewal applications filed before and after enactment of the May 4, 2022 rule.
- I-797C Receipt Notices for EAD renewal applications issued after May 4, 2022 will reference the 540-day automatic extension and may be presented together with a valid Form I-94 and expired EAD as proof of employment eligibility.
- I-797C Receipt Notices issued prior to May 4, 2022 reference a 180-day automatic extension but nonetheless may be used as evidence of employment authorization for the 540-day period, together with an unexpired I-94 and expired EAD.
- Individuals relying on the auto-extension period for continued employment authorization should refer to USCIS’s Automatic EAD Extension page to review the documents that should be presented for employment eligibility verification.
- Reminder: Spouses of E, H, and L nonimmigrants relying on the EAD renewal auto-extension provisions MUST have an unexpired I-94 document to benefit from the auto-extension provision. Spouses of E and L nonimmigrants who have an I-94 with the “S” annotation on the admission classification (E-1S, E-2S, E-3S and L-2S) do not require an EAD for employment authorization during the I-94 validity period.
The expansion of the auto-extension period from 180 to 540 days is welcome news to noncitizens who have lost work authorization due to egregious USCIS processing delays and the U.S. employers who have experienced workforce and business disruption as a consequence. We look forward to other USCIS initiatives to improve access to immigration benefits by reducing case processing times, expanding electronic filing to additional applications, and promoting the fair and efficient adjudication of all applications.
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