USCIS Extends Employment Authorization Validity

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Recently, USCIS announced an update to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), which comes as welcome news. Read on and reach out to a seasoned New York City immigration lawyer to learn more.

Extended EAD Validity

USCIS has introduced changes to the Policy Manual that extend the maximum validity period of initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to five years. These updates apply to specific groups of noncitizens who are employment authorized incident to their status or circumstances. The following parties stand to benefit from these changes:

  • Refugees, Paroled Refugees, and Asylees: Refugees and those paroled as refugees, along with individuals granted asylum, are among the beneficiaries of this extended EAD validity period. This means they can now secure EADs for up to five years, simplifying the process of maintaining their employment authorization.
  • Withholding of Removal Recipients: Recipients of withholding of removal, another group of noncitizens, also fall under this extended EAD validity period. This update ensures that they can enjoy an uninterrupted five-year span of employment authorization.
  • Certain Noncitizens Applying for Employment Authorization: The USCIS has also extended the maximum validity period of initial and renewal EADs to five years for certain noncitizens who must apply for employment authorization. This includes individuals applying for asylum or withholding of removal, those seeking adjustment of status under INA 245, and those pursuing suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.

Understanding Employment Authorization Categories

The updated guidance not only extends EAD validity but also clarifies the categories of noncitizens who are automatically authorized to work, often referred to as “employment authorized incident to status or circumstance.” It’s essential to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure you are eligible for these benefits.

Additionally, the guidance provides detailed information on presenting a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, to employers as an acceptable document indicating employment authorization under List C of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. To meet the requirements, the Form I-94 must be accompanied by appropriate identity documentation.

While the extension of EAD validity is a positive development, it’s crucial to understand that maintaining employment authorization remains contingent on underlying status, circumstances, and EAD filing category. For instance, if an individual received an EAD under the (c)(9) category based on a pending adjustment of status application for the maximum validity period of five years, and the adjustment application is subsequently denied, their ancillary employment authorization may be terminated before the expiration date listed on their EAD.