The Policy Manual is being updated to extend the maximum validity period for certain noncitizens' initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to 5 years. These changes apply to individuals with various immigration statuses, including refugees, asylees, withholding of removal recipients, and those applying for employment authorization. This extension also applies to applicants for asylum, adjustment of status, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.
Additionally, the updated guidance defines the categories of noncitizens who are automatically authorized to work, referred to as "employment authorized incident to status or circumstance." The guidance provides more clarity on the acceptability of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, as a document for proving employment authorization under List C of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It highlights the requirement for the Form I-94 to be accompanied by identity documentation for employment authorization purposes. The guidance also establishes that specific Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are considered employment authorized incident to their parole.
The extension of EAD validity aims to reduce the volume of new Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, submitted for EAD renewals. This is part of an effort to alleviate processing times and backlogs. However, it's important to note that the continued employment authorization is contingent on the individual's underlying immigration status, circumstances, and the category under which they filed their EAD application. For instance, if someone received an EAD based on a pending adjustment of status application (category (c)(9)) for the maximum 5-year validity period and their adjustment application is subsequently denied, their ancillary employment authorization may terminate before the EAD's listed expiration date.