USCIS Announces Automatic EAD Extension Policy

The United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) announced that it is providing extensions for workers’ employment authorization documents

The automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) extension policy came as good news to employees and employers. The USCIS announcing a new policy was a step in the right direction for both parties.

Businesses and companies were almost reaching a standstill due to the labor shortage caused by the delay. Immigrants all over the country needing employment authorization documents were forced to stay out of work, a condition that made the work environment unbearable for the remaining workers. 

Applicants who had filed for EAD renewal Form I-765 would duly benefit from the extension policy, which increased the period from 180 days to 540 days. The 360-day extension period provides sufficient time for the USCIS to handle the pending cases. 

Though common, EAD delays have been affecting both refugees and immigrants. Due to understaffing and financial constraints, the USCIS cannot promptly process cases. These challenges and the pandemic contributed to the hold-up witnessed in 2021. 

Who Benefits From the EAD Extension Policy?

Anyone who was qualified for the 180-day renewal period is still eligible for the 540-day extension. Likewise, qualified applicants must have filed Form I-765 before the expiry date. They should also have Form I-797C, Notice of Action, issued when the renewal application is submitted. 

Applicants whose 180-day extension period had expired would be added an extra 540 days of EAD validity from their expiration date. The good news is that these applicants are free to continue with their employment during this period. 

Similarly, applicants whose 180-day extension period has not expired will add an extra 360 days, which sums up to 540 days. On the same note, applicants who file renewal forms before October 27, 2023, also benefit from the 540-day extension period. 

Applicant Employees Under the TFR

The USCIS provided guidelines on how employers should complete Form I-9 for applicants under the TFR. Accordingly, the extension period applies to applicants who filed their renewal application forms before May 4, 2022, whether or not the initial 180-day automatic extension has expired. This also applies to applicants filing between May 4, 2022, and October 26, 2023.

It is important to note that any renewal applications made after October 26, 2023, will have the initial 180-day automatic extension period. Due to the various

considerations, employers are advised to seek legal advice when dealing with applications for employees under the TFR.   

For continuing employment, the employer must update the initial Form I-9 and indicate the new automatic EAD extension. The employer should fill out the required section with the extended expiration date for new employees. Nevertheless, employer requirements remain uncompromised by the new extension policy. 

“Like any other immigration manner, eligibility for EAD extensions may be confusing and especially important for immigrants who need up-to-date paperwork to stay in the country,” says immigration attorney Brandon Ritchie of Ritchie-Reiersen Injury & Immigration Attorneys. “To make sure all of your bases are covered, you should speak with meticulous immigration law counsel.

Qualified Categories for Automatic EAD Extension

As published by the USCIS, the following categories are eligible for an automatic EAD extension period. A03, A05, A07, A08, A10, A12, A17, A18, C08, C09, C10, C16, C19, C20, C22, C24, C26, C31. However, categories A17, A18, and C26 have specified employees who qualify for the extension.

When Does the Extension End?

As of October 27, 2023, the automatic extension period for EAD renewal will revert to the initial 180-day period. Hence, applicants who timely file renewal applications after the stated date will have an extended period of 180 days. 

Applicants are advised to find more information on the USCIS website or contact legal representation for further clarification on unclear immigration matters.