DHS to Temporarily Increase the Automatic Extension Period of Work Permits for Certain Visa Applicants
Effective May 4, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) to increase the automatic extension period of expiring employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain renewal applicants from 180 days to 540 days.
Specifically, the TFR applies to three groups of applicants in EAD categories currently eligible for the previous 180-day automatic extension of employment authorization and EAD validity. They are as follows:
- Renewal applicants whose renewal Form I-765 application remains pending as of May 4, 2022, and whose EAD has not expired or whose current 180-day auto-extension has not yet lapsed.
- New renewal applicants who file Form I-765 during the 18-month period following the rule’s publication to avoid a future gap in employment authorization and/or documentation.
- Renewal applicants 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.
Categories that are eligible for the lengthened automatic extension can be found here and include refugees and asylees (a3 and a5), spouses of certain H-1B principal non-immigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 non-immigrant status (c26), and adjustment of status applicants (c9), among others.
The TFR is part of a trio of efforts USCIS announced on March 29, 2022, to address the agency’s major backlogs and crisis-level processing delays. According to USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, “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,” and this temporary rule is necessary to “provide those non-citizens 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.”
CUPA-HR will continue to monitor the implementation of the new auto-extension period and keep members apprised of further developments.