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In a recent development, certain applicants renewing their employment authorization have been granted a seamless process by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligible individuals who have submitted Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, can now enjoy an automatic extension of up to 180 days for their expiring employment authorization documents (EADs) while their renewal application is being processed. This move, effective from October 27, 2023, aims to provide continued support to those in need, including applicants for Temporary Protected Status or asylum.

It’s worth noting that a significant change had been introduced in May 2022 by USCIS. During that time, a temporary final rule (TFR) was implemented, extending the automatic extension period for certain EAD renewal applicants from the standard 180 days to a remarkable 540 days. However, this recent update does not affect those previous extensions. All individuals who were previously granted up to 540-day automatic extensions will continue to benefit from this provision.

The USCIS is actively assessing the necessity for further regulatory actions akin to the May 2022 TFR. This evaluation takes into account the improvements made in operational processes and ongoing efforts to expedite EAD processing on a broader scale.

For applicants eligible for the automatic extension, the initial up to 180-day period remains the same if they file a Form I-765 renewal application on or after October 27, 2023. However, for those who were granted the extended 540-day period under the TFR, this extension will conclude upon the final decision on their renewal application or the expiration of the 540-day period (counted from the expiration date of their employment authorization and/or EAD), whichever occurs first.

In addition to this extension, USCIS has recently updated its Policy Manual, enhancing the EAD validity period to five years for specific categories. This update, effective from September 27, 2023, benefits noncitizens who are employment authorized due to their status or circumstances, including refugees, asylees, and individuals granted withholding of removal. Similarly, applicants for asylum, withholding of removal, adjustment of status, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal will also benefit from this extended validity period.

To ensure a smooth transition and reduce gaps in employment, USCIS is taking proactive measures. The agency has allocated additional resources and implemented streamlined processes, aiming to reduce the median processing time for certain EAD applications to just 30 days. This dedicated effort underscores USCIS’s commitment to minimizing EAD processing times and preventing the untimely expiration of renewed EADs.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to support you through the application process and address any concerns you may have.