May 4, 2022
USCIS announced the publication of a Temporary Final Rule that will increase the automatic extension time for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). As of May 4, 2022, those EAD categories which are eligible for an automatic extension will now receive a 540 day automatic extension of employment authorization. To benefit from automatic extension, an Applicant must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) to extend their EAD, within the same category, before the expiration date listed on the EAD card. In addition, the requested EAD category must be among those identified by USCIS as eligible for automatic extension, and the Applicant must satisfy any additional requirements outlined by USCIS for the specific requested EAD category.
Once an Applicant receives their USCIS Receipt Notice (Form I-797C) for a timely filed Form I-765 within an eligible category, the Receipt Notice, along with the expiring EAD card, provide evidence of the automatic extension. Previously, the automatic extension period only added an additional 180 days to the expiration date listed on the EAD card. With current USCIS processing times often taking several months (or even years) to process EAD renewals, even the some of the most proactive applicants for renewal were left with a gap in their employment authorization if USCIS failed to adjudicate their EAD extension before the end of their automatic extension period.
The new 540 day automatic extension period will be offered from May 4, 2022 until October 27, 2023 and should reduce the number of people who have experienced a gap in employment authorization. Even those Applicants with a pending Form I-765 whose initial 180 day automatic extension has expired will be able to take advantage of the 540 day automatic extension, effectively re-instating their employment authorization until the sooner of 540 days from the expiration date on their expired EAD card or a final decision has been reached on their pending EAD case. USCIS hopes that this temporary increase of the automatic extension will give the agency enough time to address staffing shortages and implement efficiencies in order to reach their stated goal of a 3-month cycle time for EAD extensions by September 30, 2023.
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