Certain Renewal Applicants for Employment Authorization to Receive Automatic 180 Day Extension

Certain renewal applicants who have filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, qualify for an automatic extension of their expiring employment authorization and/or employment authorization documents (EADs) while their renewal application is pending. Starting today, those who are eligible will receive 180-day extensions in accordance with existing regulations, including those who have applied for or have received Temporary Protected Status or asylum.

In May 2022, however, USCIS announced a temporary final rule (TFR) that increased the automatic extension period for EADs available to certain EAD renewal applicants from up to 180 days to up to 540 days. Today’s change is not retroactive; all previous up to 540-day automatic extensions will remain in place.

USCIS is in the process of determining whether there is a need for a new regulatory action similar to the May 2022 TFR, notwithstanding past and ongoing operational improvements and efforts to accelerate EAD processing more broadly.

As announced in the 2022 TFR, automatic extensions of employment authorization and EAD validity will be the original up to 180-day period for those eligible applicants who timely file a Form I-765 renewal applications on or after Oct. 27, 2023.

For individuals who received an increased automatic extension period under the TFR, the increased automatic extension will end when they receive a final decision on their renewal application or when the up to 540-day period expires (counted from the expiration date of the employment authorization and/or their EAD), whichever comes earlier.

Meanwhile, USCIS recently published a Policy Manual update increasing the maximum EAD validity period to five years for initial and renewal applications approved on or after Sept. 27, 2023, for the following categories:

  • Certain noncitizens who are employment authorized incident to status or circumstance, including those admitted as refugees, paroled as refugees, granted asylum, and recipients of withholding of removal; and
  • Certain noncitizens who must apply for employment authorization, including applicants for asylum and withholding of removal, adjustment of status, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.

USCIS is making every effort to help avoid gaps in employment and/or employment authorization documentation for noncitizens with pending EAD renewal applications, and to help reduce EAD processing times, including by dedicating additional personnel and implementing processing improvements to decrease the median processing time for certain EAD applications to 30 days.