USCIS Increases Automatic Extension of Certain Employment Authorization Documents to Improve Access to Work Permits

Release Date: 04/04/2024

WASHINGTON— Building on extensive modernization efforts that have streamlined and improved access to work permits for eligible noncitizens, USCIS today announced a temporary final rule (TFR) to increase the automatic extension period for certain employment authorization documents (EADs) from up to 180 days to up to 540 days. This announcement follows improvements that have reduced processing times for EADs significantly over the past year.

The temporary measure announced today will prevent already work-authorized noncitizens from having their employment authorization and documentation lapse while waiting for USCIS to adjudicate their pending EAD renewal applications and better ensure continuity of operations for U.S. employers. This is the latest step by the Biden-Harris Administration to get work-authorized individuals into the workforce, supporting the economies where they live.

“Over the last year, the USCIS workforce reduced processing times for most EAD categories, supporting an overall goal to improve work access to eligible individuals. However, we also received a record number of employment authorization applications, impacting our renewal mechanisms,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “Temporarily lengthening the existing automatic extension up to 540 days will avoid lapses in employment authorizations. At the same time, this rule provides DHS with an additional window to consider long-term solutions by soliciting public comments, and identifying new strategies to ensure those noncitizens eligible for employment authorization can maintain that benefit.”

This TFR aligns with an ongoing effort at USCIS to support employment authorized individuals’ access to work. USCIS has reduced EAD processing times overall and streamlined adjudication processing, including:

  • Reducing by half EAD processing times of individuals with pending green card applications from FY2021 to date,
  • Processing a record number of EAD applications in the past year, outpacing prior years,
  • Engaging with communities to educate work-eligible individuals who were not accessing the process and provide on-the-ground intake support of applications,
  • Reducing processing time for EADs for asylum applicants and certain parolees to less than or equal to 30-day median,
  • Extending EAD validity period for certain categories from 2 years to 5 years,
  • Streamlining the process for refugee EADs, and
  • Expanding online filing for EADs to asylum applications and parolees.

This temporary measure will apply to eligible applicants who timely and properly filed an EAD renewal application on or after Oct. 27, 2023, if the application is still pending on the date of publication in the Federal Register. The temporary final rule will also apply to eligible EAD renewal applicants who timely and properly file their Form I-765 application during a 540-day period that begins with the rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

Absent 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 in danger of experiencing a lapse in their employment authorization, and approximately 60,000 to 80,000 employers would be negatively impacted as a result of such a lapse. EADs are generally valid for the length of the authorized parole period. This TFR does not extend the length of parole.

Since May 12, 2023 to March 13, 2024, DHS has removed or returned over 617,000 individuals, the vast majority of whom crossed the Southwest Border, including more than 97,000 individual family members. The majority of all 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 removals and returns in every full fiscal year since 2011.

As part of this temporary final rule, USCIS is soliciting feedback from the public that would inform potential future regulatory action. For more information, visit our Automatic Employment Authorization Document Extension page.

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