Certain applicants who have filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, qualify for automatic extensions of their expiring employment authorization and/or EADs for up to 540 days if they:
- Properly filed Form I-765 for a renewal of their employment authorization and/or EAD before their current EAD expired, and
- Are otherwise eligible for a renewal, which means that:
- Your renewal application is under a category that is eligible for an automatic 180-day extension (see the list of categories below); and
- The Category on your current EAD matches the “Class Requested” listed on your Form I-797C Notice of Action. (Note: If you are a TPS beneficiary or pending applicant, your EAD and this Notice must contain either the A12 or C19 category, but the categories do not need to match each other. In addition, for H-4, E, and L-2 dependent spouses, an unexpired Form I-94 indicating H-4, E, or L-2 nonimmigrant status must accompany Form I-797C).
We are doing so to help prevent gaps in employment authorization and documentation.
—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), available to certain EAD renewal applicants, to up to 540 days.
The increase, which will be effective immediately on May 4, 2022, will help avoid gaps in employment for noncitizens with pending EAD renewal applications and stabilize the continuity of operations for U.S. employers.
“As USCIS works to address pending EAD caseloads, the agency has determined that the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorization is currently insufficient,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou.
“This temporary rule will provide those noncitizens otherwise eligible for the automatic extension an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families, while avoiding further disruption for U.S. employers.”
For several years, USCIS has been in a precarious financial situation that has impaired the efficient completion of caseloads.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges in 2020, in addition to a hiring freeze and furlough threat leading to workforce attrition and severely reduced capacity.
In 2021, before USCIS could recover from these fiscal and operational impacts, there was a sudden and dramatic increase in EAD initial and renewal filings, as explained in detail in the TFR.
The TFR, which only applies to those EAD categories currently eligible for an automatic up to 180-day extension, will temporarily provide up to 360 days of additional automatic extension time (for a total of up to 540 days) to eligible applicants with a timely-filed Form I-765 renewal application pending during the 18-month period after publication of the TFR while USCIS continues to work through pending caseloads that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This timeframe will allow USCIS an opportunity to address staffing shortages, implement additional efficiencies, and meet Director Jaddou’s recently announced goal of achieving a three-month cycle time for EAD applications (generally comparable to a median three-month processing time) by the end of FY23.
Beginning Oct. 27, 2023, automatic extensions of employment authorization and EAD validity will revert to the up to 180-day period for those eligible applicants who timely file Form I-765 renewal applications.
Noncitizens with a pending EAD renewal application whose 180-day automatic extension has lapsed and whose EAD has expired will be granted an additional period of employment authorization and EAD validity, beginning on May 4, 2022 and lasting up to 540 days from the expiration date of their EAD, such that they may resume employment if they are still within the up to 540-day automatic extension period and are otherwise eligible.
Noncitizens with a pending renewal application still covered under the 180-day automatic extension will be granted an additional up to 360-day extension, for a total of up to 540 days past the expiration of the current EAD.
Noncitizens with a pending renewal application and valid EAD on May 4, 2022, or who timely file an EAD renewal application before Oct. 27, 2023, will be granted an automatic extension of up to 540 days if their EAD expires before the renewal application is processed.
The automatic extension generally will end upon notification of a final decision on the renewal application or the end of the up to 540-day period (meaning, up to 540 days after the expiration date on the applicant’s facially expired EAD), whichever comes earlier.
The following employment eligible categories are eligible for an automatic extension of up to 540 days:
|The eligibility category you listed on your Form I-765 renewal application||Description|
|(a)(7)||N-8 or N-9|
|(a)(8)||Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau|
|(a)(10)||Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted|
|(a)(12)||Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted|
|(a)(17)||Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E nonimmigrant status1|
|(a)(18)||Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 nonimmigrant status2|
|(c)(8)||Asylum Application Pending|
|(c)(9)||Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act|
|(c)(10)||Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997)
Cancellation of Removal Applicants
Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants Under NACARA
|(c)(16)||Creation of Record (Adjustment Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972)|
|(c)(19)||Pending initial application for TPS where USCIS determines applicant is prima facie eligible for TPS and can receive an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”.|
|(c)(20)||Section 210 Legalization (pending I-700)|
|(c)(22)||Section 245A Legalization (pending I-687)|
|(c)(26)||Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status|
NOTE: TPS individuals may receive an automatic extension of their employment authorization:
- Through publication of a Federal Register notice extending the TPS designation of the individual’s country, provided that the Federal Register notice also authorizes an automatic extension of covered individuals’ existing EADs; and/or
- Through this 180-day automatic extension.