USCIS Increases Automatic EAD Extension to 540 Days for Certain Applicants
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 05, 2022 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a new rule that temporarily lengthens the automatic extension period for some Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Certain individuals who have filed applications for employment authorization will receive an extension of 540 days from the expiration date specified on their EADs. Before USCIS announced the temporary increase, persons who filed timely renewal applications in eligible EAD categories could be granted a maximum automatic extension of 180 days.
USCIS introduced the new policy in light of its significant processing delays for EAD renewal applications. Existing backlogs have been worsened by pandemic-related emergency office closures. The increase in the automatic EAD extension period is intended to help individuals with pending applications avoid gaps in employment authorization.
“It is of some comfort that USCIS has recognized that making applicants wait up to 10 months to produce a work authorization document is inexcusable, especially when by its own prior regulations, the agency previously produced EADs within 90 days of filing. Hopefully, this is just the start,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “The change of increasing automatic work authorization extension periods certainly helps those applicants affected, but it does little to actually solve the huge backlog; it only reduces future additions to it by eliminating pressure from a class of persons who can now afford to wait for USCIS to adjudicate their applications. We have yet to see how USCIS will actually reduce processing times when there is an existing labor shortage and employers are desperate to keep their workers.”
The Temporary Final Rule took effect from May 4, 2022, after publication in the Federal Register. The amended regulation will remain in effect until October 27, 2023, which is when the automatic extension period for EADs will revert to 180 days for eligible applicants.
The increased automatic extension period applies to qualifying applicants who have applications that were filed before May 4, 2022, including those who have experienced lapses in their work authorization after the initial 180-day extension period. Applicants who file their renewal applications in the period through October 26, 2023, will also benefit from the new policy. The USCIS website lists the EAD categories that qualify for automatic extensions.