U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending the validity period for certain categories of immigrants eligible to receive Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Immigrants such as those who currently hold refugee or asylee status and those granted withholding of removal, among others, can now receive EADs valid for five years for initial and renewal filings. This change comes after the agency has struggled to timely approve EAD renewal applications even after granting automatic extensions for certain individuals of 540 days.
Immigrants seeking EADs currently applying for asylum, withholding of removal, and adjustment of status under INA 245 will benefit from an increased validity period of their initial applications with a change from two to four years. Those seeking suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal will see their validity period increase from one to five years.
The guidance also outlines those immigrants who automatically obtain work authorization due to their status and defines those able to present Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, as proof of authorization for employment on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. In addition, eligible Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are now authorized for employment once paroled into the United States.
Increasing the validity period of EADs will allow USCIS to address their growing backlog and relieve immigrants of prolonged wait times for renewal of their employment authorization and subsequent potential loss of employment. However, this policy is applicable only to immigrants under certain classifications. Moreover, an EAD issued to an immigrant who subsequently loses their status or is denied a certain immigrant or nonimmigrant benefit may lose employment authorization before the expiration date that appears on the document.
Should you have any questions about USCIS’ new guidance regarding the extension of EAD validity periods, please contact Green and Spiegel at (215) 395-8959 or Stephen Antwine at santwine@gands.