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USCIS issues temporary automatic EAD extensions

In an effort to alleviate the EAD application backlog and get people back to work, the USCIS is automatically extending employment authorization from 180 days to 540 days for certain individuals.

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    How long is the extension?

    Employment Authorization Documents which are normally valid for 180 days and need constant renewal will now be temporarily extended to 540 days. This 18-month extension will take effect from May 4th, 2002, and automatically be given to certain individuals who have filed their EAD renewal application in a timely manner.

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    Who gets the extension?

    Automatic EAD extensions will be given to the following eligible renewal applicants:

    • Applicants who filed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) before May 4, 2022, and whose 180 automatic extensions have expired
    • Applicants who filed Form I-765 before May 4th, 2022, and whose 180 automatic extensions have not yet expired (these applicants will be granted an extension of up to 360 days for a total of 540 days of EAD validity)
    • Applicants who filed Form I-765 anytime from May 4th, 2002 to October 26th, 2023

    After October 26, 2023, all automatic extensions will end and the EAD will revert back to having a 180-validity period. It should be noted that these extensions do not guarantee that all applicants are guaranteed employment authorization. Employment authorization can cease if the I-765 renewal application has been denied or if the USCIS has any other reason to cease it.

    EAD applicants who filed after May 3rd, 2002 will soon receive I-765 receipts that include an explanation of the 540-day EAD extension. The USCIS will also update I-9 Central on its webpage to include information about the 540-day extension including guidance on how to complete Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification).

    Why the automatic extension?

    The USCIS is hoping that this EAD automatic extension will free up space in the ever-growing immigration application backlog that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and was further exacerbated by staffing shortages. It is estimated that the USCIS had at one point a backlog of 1.5 million EAD applications that it could not process in a timely manner. As a result, many non-US citizens were left ineligible for lawful work while they waited 6-20 months for their EAD application to be processed.

    This new extension will hopefully lighten the caseloads of USCIS staff enough to help quicken processing times for other immigration-related applications. In addition, this new rule will give the immigration agency enough time to address staffing shortages and implement new workplace systems designed to make USCIS more efficient by October 2023. By that time, the USCIS hopes to meet its goal of processing EAD applications in a time frame of 3 months or less.

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