The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency announced Tuesday that it will be amending the automatic extension period for employment authorization applicants and certain Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal applicants via a Temporary Final Rule (TFR).
Effective May 4, 2022, the TFR will extend the 180-day automatic extension period by 360 days for a total of 540 days, for qualifying applicants. Noncitizens who are awaiting approval for their renewal applications could benefit from this new rule because the extension allows the respective individuals to remain employed while the USCIS works through processing backlogs.
Automatic Employment Authorization Extension For Specific Categories
Initially, applicants who filed an application for employment authorization automatically received an extension for an expiring EAD and/or employment authorization for up to 180 days provided they meet the following criteria:
- Satisfactorily filed an application for employment authorization and/or renewal before the expiration of their current one,
- Otherwise eligible for a renewal of their employment authorization because:
- Their application exists under a category eligible for a 180-day extension
- Their current EAD category matches the “Class Requested”
- Additional category requirements will apply for TPS beneficiaries and pending applicants
Employment Authorization Pathways and Who May Qualify
According to the May 3, 2022 USCIS announcement amending the automatic EAD extension terms prescribed above, the eligibility criteria will remain unchanged while the USCIS will prolong the extension period by 360 days.
Regardless of the individual’s country of origin or citizenship status, all U.S. employers are required by law to verify the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Employment authorization in the U.S. can be established with a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), an employment-based visa or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Firstly, possessing a green card is enough proof of the holder’s employment authorization in the U.S because it establishes U.S. permanent residency. Secondly, nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B or L-1B visa, already grants employment authorization in the U.S. for the applicant to work for a specific employer.
Other individuals may also qualify to obtain an EAD as a way of proving their eligibility to work in the United States in other categories.
Should You Apply for Employment Authorization Documents?
According to the USCIS, an individual must apply for an EAD if their immigration status matches any of the following situations:
- The individual is authorized to work in the U.S. due to their immigration status (such as having a refugee status) and they need proof of the employment authorization or,
- The individual is required to retrieve employment authorization while they are:
- Awaiting a pending decision on their Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status,
- Awaiting a pending decision on their Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal,
- Holding a nonimmigrant status that grants permission to be present in the U.S. but not permission to work in the U.S. without approval from USCIS,
- For example, an F-1 or M-1 visa for students,
EAD Extensions Benefit Multiple Parties
According to the USCIS, EAD extensions are necessary to prevent employment gaps for noncitizens with specific pending applications and to combat the labor shortage in the U.S.
In addition to helping U.S. employers stabilize their businesses as staff shortages become an increasing problem, the extension will also allow the immigration agency to process the millions of cases in its backlogs.
As an immigration specialized law firm, the Law Offices of Wiliani-Malek maintains a successful track record providing immigration support service for obtaining EAD and other immigration benefits cases. Book a consultation with our experienced attorney today at 714-432-1333.