USCIS Enhances Extension of Certain Employment Authorization Documents to Facilitate Work Permit Access

WASHINGTON— In a continued effort to modernize and enhance access to work permits for eligible noncitizens, USCIS has introduced a temporary final rule (TFR) aimed at extending the automatic extension period for specific employment authorization documents (EADs) from up to 180 days to a maximum of 540 days. This initiative builds upon previous improvements that have significantly reduced EAD processing times over the past year. 

The temporary measure unveiled today aims to prevent work-authorized noncitizens from facing lapses in employment authorization and documentation while awaiting USCIS adjudication of their pending EAD renewal applications. It also aims to ensure smoother operations for U.S. employers. This initiative represents the latest step by the Biden-Harris Administration to integrate work-authorized individuals into the labor force, thereby supporting the economies of their respective regions. 

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou remarked, “Over the past year, the USCIS team has made substantial progress in reducing processing times for most EAD categories, aligning with our overarching goal to enhance work access for eligible individuals. Nonetheless, we've experienced a surge in employment authorization applications, impacting our renewal mechanisms.” Jaddou added, “Extending the existing automatic extension up to 540 days temporarily will prevent interruptions in employment authorizations. Concurrently, this rule provides DHS with an extended timeframe to explore long-term solutions by soliciting public feedback and identifying new strategies to ensure that eligible noncitizens maintain their employment authorization benefits.” 

This TFR reflects USCIS's ongoing commitment to supporting access to work for individuals with employment authorization. USCIS has achieved this through various measures, including: 

Halving EAD processing times for individuals with pending green card applications since FY2021, Processing a record number of EAD applications in the past year, surpassing previous years' figures, Engaging with communities to educate work-eligible individuals on the application process and providing on-site support for application submissions, Reducing EAD processing time for asylum applicants and certain parolees to a median of 30 days or less, Extending the validity period of certain EAD categories from 2 years to 5 years, Simplifying the process for refugee EADs, and Expanding online filing for EADs to include asylum applications and parolees. 

This temporary measure will benefit eligible applicants who have timely and correctly submitted an EAD renewal application on or after October 27, 2023, if the application is still pending at the time of publication in the Federal Register. Additionally, it will apply to eligible EAD renewal applicants who timely and properly file their Form I-765 applications during a 540-day period commencing with the rule’s publication in the Federal Register. 

Without this measure, nearly 800,000 EAD renewal applicants, including those eligible for employment authorization as asylees or asylum applicants, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants or recipients, and green card applicants, would be at risk of experiencing a lapse in their employment authorization. This lapse would negatively impact approximately 60,000 to 80,000 employers. It's worth noting that EADs are generally valid for the duration of the authorized parole period, and this TFR does not extend the length of parole. 

From May 12, 2023, to March 13, 2024, DHS has removed or returned over 617,000 individuals, the majority of whom crossed the Southwest Border, including more than 97,000 individual family members. The majority of individuals encountered at the southwest border over the past three years have been removed, returned, or expelled. Total removals and returns since mid-May exceed those in any full fiscal year since 2011. 

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