USCIS Simplifies Procedure for Refugee Employment Authorization Documents

USCIS has initiated the implementation of a streamlined procedure for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, aimed at expediting the issuance of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to eligible refugees upon their admission to the United States. This streamlined approach significantly reduces the waiting period for an EAD to approximately 30 days, compared to the previous waiting time of several months. All individuals admitted to the United States as refugees on or after Dec. 10, 2023, will benefit from this enhanced process. 

According to U.S. law, refugees are legally entitled to work upon their arrival in the United States. However, obtaining evidence of this work authorization through an EAD was previously a cumbersome paper-based process, resulting in considerable delays. The new procedure is entirely automated and eliminates the need for refugees to apply for an EAD, thus enabling swifter processing and adjudication of Form I-765 and expedited delivery of EADs following approval. 

With this updated process, USCIS will digitally generate a Form I-765 for newly arrived refugees and commence adjudication upon their admission to the United States. Upon approval of a refugee's Form I-765, EADs will typically be dispatched within one to two weeks. USCIS will dispatch the EADs via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail to the refugee's designated address. The timeframe for receipt of the EAD card may vary based on delivery times. Please allow a total of 30 days before making inquiries. 

Additionally, USCIS will electronically transmit the necessary information to the Social Security Administration to facilitate the assignment of a Social Security number and the mailing of a Social Security card to the refugee. 

Recognizing the pivotal role of documents such as EADs and Social Security cards in facilitating the integration of newly arrived refugees into the United States, this revamped process underscores collaborative efforts across the U.S. government to support the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and promote refugee integration. USCIS remains dedicated to enhancing efficiency by streamlining and digitizing our processes. The implementation of this process commenced on Dec. 10, 2023, following a successful trial period. 

It's important to note that this process does not extend to following-to-join refugees admitted to the United States based on an approved Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. Additionally, refugees seeking a replacement or renewal EAD will still be required to complete and submit Form I-765. 

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