USCIS extends validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for some foreign nationals
Employment Authorization Document Extension
On September 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced measures to expedite the processing of certain work permits and extend their validity for specific categories of individuals. These changes are substantial and are expected to have a significant impact on reducing the longstanding work permit backlog. Federal law mandates that all U.S. employers ensure their employees possess proper authorization for employment. Without such authorization, noncitizens are restricted from the formal labor market.
What is an EAD?
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly known as a work permit or Form I-766, is utilized by certain foreign nationals to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the United States for a specified period. Those who have applied for a green card while residing in the United States may acquire an EAD to work while their application is pending. Similarly, K-1 fiancé visa holders, spouses of H-1B workers, and students with an F-1 student visa may apply for a work permit in specific circumstances.
If your Form I-766 is linked to your green card application, you can apply for any legally sanctioned job accessible on the "open market." In other words, unlike an H-1B visa, your EAD will not bind you to a single employer.
Employment authorization documents are typically necessary for foreign nationals who:
Are in a nonimmigrant visa status requiring proof of employment authorization (such as Asylum, Refugee, or U Immigrant status).
Are in a status that mandates permission to work from USCIS. This category includes foreign nationals with a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Additionally, F-1 or M-1 students often need to apply for an EAD because their status does not permit employment in the U.S. "without first seeking permission from USCIS."
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension Announcement
Starting from October 1, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will extend the maximum validity period for both initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to up to five years for certain foreign nationals, including those applying for adjustment of status. DHS will allocate additional personnel and implement improvements to reduce the median processing times from 90 days to 30 days for EADs linked to migrants who entered through the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan (CHNV) parole process or via the CBP One mobile app.
DHS's primary objective with these reforms is to ensure that immigrants receive their work permits promptly, enabling them to support themselves and their families while their processes are underway in the United States.
The extended EAD validity period should decrease the need for those seeking adjustment of status to repeatedly request EAD extensions during the pendency of their cases, thereby potentially reducing the backlog. The extended EAD validity period will also be applicable to refugees, foreign nationals granted asylum, recipients of withholding of removal, and foreign nationals applying for asylum or cancellation of removal.
In response, the government has been sending emails and SMS notifications to eligible parolees, informing them of their eligibility to apply for employment authorization. USCIS reports having sent more than 1.4 million emails and text notifications to such individuals.
Applying for an EAD Card
A. Submit an Application to USCIS to Obtain the EAD. The Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, can be filed electronically (E-File) or by mail at a USCIS Regional Service Center or Lockbox, depending on the eligibility criteria for the EAD.
B. Supporting Documents and Forms to Be Submitted Along with the EAD Application
USCIS Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Two identical color photographs
Copy of the current passport
Copy of the Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Document
Copies of documents indicating the current status
If the applicant was previously issued an EAD card, include a legible photocopy of both the front and back
If the applicant has a pending adjustment of status application, include a copy of the receipt notice unless filing the I-765 concurrently with the adjustment of status application.
If the applicant is in F-1 or M-1 status, include copies of all I-20s showing the international student adviser's recommendation for practical training. Also, include a copy of the Form I-538, endorsed by the international student advisor.
If the applicant is in J-2 status, provide proof of marriage, a copy of the J-1 spouse's Form DS-2019, Form I-94, and a written statement indicating that the applicant's income is not necessary to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
If the applicant is an A, G, or NATO dependent, include USCIS Form I-566, Interagency Record of Individual Requesting Change/Adjustment to or from A or G Status.
If the applicant is the spouse of an L-1 intra-company transferee, include proof of marriage and a copy of the spouse's I-94 showing valid L-1 status.
If the applicant is the spouse of an E-1 treaty trader or E-2 investor, provide evidence of the applicant's lawful status (such as the Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Document) and proof of the applicant's spousal relationship with the principal visa holder.
If the applicant is a K-1 fiancée, submit the application within 90 days of entry, along with evidence of the K-1 visa and a copy of the passport.
Elizee Law Firm offers legal representation to individuals, families, and employers navigating the complexities of immigration processes. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at www.elizeelawfirm.com or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone: 305-371-8846.