2023년 10월 3일
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USCIS Boosts EAD Validity to 5 Years, Simplifies Processes

USCIS extends Employment Authorization Document validity to five years, simplifying processes for applicants awaiting status adjustments or protection.

USCIS Boosts EAD Validity to 5 Years, Simplifies Processes

In a groundbreaking development, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has enacted a significant policy change that has far-reaching implications for immigrants and their employment authorization.

Effective immediately, USCIS has increased the maximum validity period of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in several key work authorization categories from one or two years to an extended five-year period.

This comprehensive modification applies to both initial and renewal EADs associated with pending adjustment of status applications and select humanitarian classifications or protection from removal. This change will impact any immigration form I 765 that are pending or are filed on or after September 27, 2023.

What is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is commonly known as a work permit, serving as evidence of your legal eligibility to work in the United States. Individuals residing in the United States who have applied for a green card can acquire an EAD to work while awaiting the processing of their application.

Additionally, certain circumstances allow K-1 fiancé visa holders, spouses of H-1B workers, and F-1 student visa holders to apply for a work permit.

Eligibility for Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

To secure a work permit, you must complete and submit immigration Form I 765, also known as the Application for Employment Authorization. It's important not to confuse this with Form I-766, which is the official title of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) itself, the primary focus of this page.

If you already possess a green card or are employed in the United States under a non-immigrant visa (e.g., H-1B), you are not required to apply for an EAD, as your visa inherently grants you work authorization.

However, if you are in the process of waiting for your green card or asylum application approval, or if you are in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa that permits work but necessitates an EAD as a prerequisite, you may meet the criteria to submit immigration Form I 765.

It's worth noting that individuals applying for green cards through consular processing from abroad do not need to obtain an EAD since they will be granted work authorization upon their arrival in the United States.

Form I 765 processing times

Typically, the processing time for immigration Form I 765 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is around 6.7 months.

However, there has been an increase in processing delays due to a mounting backlog, which has extended the waiting period for work permit applications beyond the previously mentioned 6.7 months.

How are EAD applicants affected by the change?

The impact of this policy change is extensive, encompassing a wide array of EAD applicants.

  • Those with pending adjustment of status applications who meet the criteria for an adjustment-based EAD, including individuals applying under employment and family-based adjustment categories, will now enjoy an extended five-year validity period. This is a significant improvement from the previous maximum validity of just two years.
  • USCIS is also implementing the five-year maximum validity for EAD applicants who have been admitted as refugees, granted asylum, or bestowed with withholding of deportation or removal status.
  • Furthermore, individuals with pending applications for asylum, withholding of removal, or suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal will benefit from this policy adjustment.
  • Additionally, this extension applies to those who have been paroled into the United States as refugees under specific circumstances.
  • Renewal EADs for eligible applicants will also be granted the extended five-year validity, offering greater stability in their employment authorization. However, it is essential to note that replacement EADs, such as those requested due to loss, theft, damage, or inaccuracies, will retain the same validity period as the original EAD.

Future implications

This policy change holds tremendous promise for adjustment of status and other eligible applicants. By reducing the frequency of EAD renewals, USCIS is significantly lessening the administrative burden associated with pending immigration processes. This streamlined approach not only benefits the applicants but also aids USCIS in its mission to reduce the number of EAD renewal applications processed in the coming years.

As a result, we can anticipate a reduction in case processing times and a mitigation of existing backlogs within USCIS. This policy alteration reflects a more efficient, proactive approach to immigration processes that will ultimately improve the overall experience for those navigating the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.

To conclude

The USCIS's decision to extend the maximum validity of Employment Authorization Documents to five years is a significant stride toward making immigration processes more efficient and less burdensome for applicants.

This development not only affords greater stability to those seeking employment in the United States but also promises to alleviate USCIS's administrative workload, thereby contributing to a reduction in case processing times and backlogs. As seasoned immigration attorneys, we are excited to see how this policy change will positively impact our clients and the broader immigrant community.

Follow us on social media for more exciting updates coming your way.

Robert Wees
U.S. Immigration CounselRobert Wees
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