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Breaking News: USCIS Automatically Extends Some Work Permits

by | May 12, 2022 | Firm News

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily extended work permits for certain applicants.

The Details

A new USCIS temporary rule has extended work authorization for some people seeking to renew their Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). These people qualify for an automatic extension of their expiring employment authorization and/or EADs for up to 540 days while they await a decision on renewal.


Does this ruling apply to me?

This ruling only applies to people who have already received work authorization in the United States and whose work authorization is now expiring. To receive the extension, you must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before your current work authorization expires. Your renewal application must be filed in the same category as your prior work permit.

Certain groups, like refugees and asylees, qualify for automatic renewal of their work authorization. People in the specific categories outlined by USCIS (listed at the end of this post) also qualify for this extension after they have submitted Form I-765.


I already filed Form I-765 and received an 180 day extension. What about me?

Good news: you can still benefit from this automatic extension! Your 180-day extension may be extended to the full 540 days, even if it has already expired. Contact your immigration attorney to learn more.


Why was this temporary rule published?

USCIS states that they have initiated this rule because of a drastic labor shortage in the United States that has also impacted USCIS’s own workforce—meaning they don’t have enough people to quickly process incoming renewal applications. This  has led to a huge backlog. Immigrants who want to work are being forced to leave their jobs while they await renewal.

Meanwhile, non-government employers across the U.S. are also desperate for workers. These employers want to keep immigrant employees in their jobs, not lose them because their work permit applications are taking too long to process.

By allowing immigrant workers to continue working for up to 540 days while their work authorization applications process, this ruling will address these problems. It’s a good thing for the government, for employers, and, most importantly, for immigrant workers, says USCIS.

What does “up to 540 days” mean?

540 days is the maximum amount of time your work authorization will be renewed while your application is pending approval. If at any time during that 540 days your application is denied, your work authorization will end.


What do I need to do?

If you have already filed Form I-765 to extend your work authorization, contact your immigration attorney. You may qualify for this extension, and your attorney can help ensure that you get it.

If you have not already filed Form I-765 and your work authorization is expiring, contact your immigration attorney. Your attorney can help you apply to renew your authorization before your current authorization expires and help you access this extension.


Full list of Groups Qualifying for Automatic Extension 

  • Refugee
  • Asylee
  • N-8 or N-9
  • Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
  • Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
  • Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E (including E-1S, E-2S and E-3S) nonimmigrant status
  • Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 (including L-2S) nonimmigrant status
  • Asylum Application Pending
  • Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act
  • Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997), Cancellation of Removal Applicants, and Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants Under NACARA
  • Creation of Record
  • Pending initial application for TPS where USCIS determines applicant is prima facie eligible for TPS and can receive an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”
  • Section 210 Legalization
  • Section 245A Legalization
  • LIFE Legalization
  • Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status
  • VAWA Self-Petitioners