What to Know About the Temporary 540-Day EAD Extension Rule

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An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) allows individuals across various immigration categories to legally work in the United States. With recent updates from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it’s crucial to stay informed about changes that might impact your work authorization status. Read on and reach out to a dedicated New York immigration lawyer from the Lightman Law Firm to learn more about the significance of the temporary 540-day EAD extension rule and how it may impact you.

From 180-Day to 540-Day Extensions

Traditionally, the USCIS has granted an automatic 180-day extension of work authorization to certain applicants while their EAD renewal application is pending. However, recognizing the challenges posed by historically long processing times, a significant change has taken place. The introduction of the Temporary Final Rule now allows for an extended automatic extension period of up to 540 days for eligible applicants. This extended period is intended to offer relief to individuals waiting for their EAD renewal applications to be processed. It’s important to note that this temporary extension rule will remain in effect until October 26, 2023, after which USCIS will revert to the standard 180-day automatic extensions.

Eligibility for the 540-Day Extension

To take advantage of the extended 540-day automatic extension, several criteria must be met:

  • Timely Filing: Your Form I-765 should be filed before the expiration date of your current EAD or within the applicable filing period for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants.
  • Same Category Renewal: Your EAD renewal application must fall within the same category as your previous EAD. Note that TPS beneficiaries or pending applicants can have variations in category, but there are exceptions.
  • Independence from Other Benefits: Your eligibility for employment authorization should not hinge on the adjudication of another benefit.

Extending Your Work Authorization

If you meet the criteria, you stand to gain valuable extensions to your work authorization:

If your EAD renewal application was timely filed before May 4, 2022, and your previous 180-day auto-extension has expired, you’ll receive an additional 360 days of work authorization.

If your EAD renewal application was filed before May 4, 2022, but not after October 26, 2023, and the original 180-day extension has not yet expired, you’ll receive the remainder of the 180-day extension, plus an additional 360 days of work authorization.

To benefit from the temporary 540-day extension, ensure that you file your EAD renewal application by October 26, 2023, in an eligible category. If you file after this date, the normal 180-automatic extension period will apply.

Eligible EAD Categories

The following EAD categories are eligible for the 540-day automatic extension:

  • Refugee (a)(3)
  • Asylee (a)(5)
  • N-8 or N-9 (a)(7)
  • Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau (a)(8)
  • Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted (a)(10)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted (a)(12)
  • Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 (a)(17)
  • Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 (a)(18)

Whether you’re seeking the extended period due to prolonged processing times or need assistance understanding the nuances of your specific case, seeking professional legal guidance can help you make informed decisions to secure your work authorization and your future in the United States. For more information and personalized guidance, feel free to contact the Lightman Law Firm today.