All You Need to Know About the EAD Automatic Extension
July 18, 2022
Article by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.
July 18, 2022
The Departments of Homeland Security and Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a temporary final rule that extended the time allowed for Automatic Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), starting on May 4, 2022. On this page, you will learn what an EAD is, the new EAD automatic extension period, and why it is being implemented.
EAD stands for Employment Authorization Document. An EAD is a document that shows your future U.S. employer that you have been granted permission by USCIS to work legally in the United States.
To learn how to fill out Form I-765, click here.
An EAD is an important document that grants the opportunity to work in the United States, providing support and the chance to strengthen personal and professional goals. If you want to work in the United States or have questions about submitting Form I-756, contact the immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. today.
If you qualify for the extension program, you may get an automatic extension if your EAD is about to expire or your application is pending. USCIS declared this as the Temporary Final Rule (TFR). You need to have filed your Form I-765 on time.
The TFR increases the automatic extension period for eligible EAD holders from 180 to 540 days. The extension allows non-immigrant visa holders with an EAD to remain at their workplace and continue to work legally in the United States.
USCIS received so many EAD renewal applications that the backlog got out of hand. Because of the high volume of EAD renewals, USCIS enacted this rule to relieve some pressure on immigrants and their employers.
Many foreign nationals can only work in the United States with an EAD. Employees were not receiving their EAD renewals quickly enough, which caused a major problem for employers and employees. USCIS still has a backlog of pending applicants, so this relief rule for an EAD automatic extension will hopefully mitigate the EAD renewal process.
For many years, there has been an influx of EAD renewal applications. Employees and employers must renew their contracts to continue doing business. A U.S. employer cannot continue to employ non-immigrant visa holders unless they have legal permission. The USCIS has decided that certain visa holders will be granted automatic 180-day extensions if they apply for renewal.
Recognizing how difficult the situation is for expired EADs, the TFR is now in effect. Without an EAD, a person cannot legally work, which causes issues in both their personal lives and with their employer. The 540-day TFR adds a full calendar year to the original EAD 180-day extension.
To be eligible for EAD automatic extension, you must be a visa holder in the automatic extension category. You must also have filed Form I-765 for an EAD renewal before your current EAD expires.
Look at your current EAD to see if you qualify. Then, check your receipt notice, which USCIS should have sent to you. The label of the receipt is Form I-797C Notice of Action. If your visa classification follows the “class requested” list on the receipt notice, you qualify for the automatic renewal.
If you have any questions about your classification, contact your immigration attorney.
You can find these on your Form I-765. These eligibility categories and descriptions are provided by USCIS. You are eligible for the EAD automatic extension if you fit an eligibility category:
If you are in one of these categories and meet the rest of the qualifications for the latest TFR, you will have a work permit extension.
If you do not fall into an eligible category and do not submit your Form I-765 on time, you will not qualify for an EAD extension.
You must have applied under the following conditions to receive the most recent 540 days for EAD automatic extension:
Note that the 540-day extension begins at the expiration date on your EAD card. However, the TFR does not apply to those applicants who submitted an EAD renewal application after October 26, 2023.
To continue working in the United States, you must present legal documentation that you are still legally authorized to work.
To be eligible for an employment authorization extension, you must not only be in an eligible category but also submit your EAD renewal application on time.
USCIS will send you a physical form known as a receipt notice if you have the automatic extension, which is now up to 540 days.
You can then present the receipt notice (Form I-797C) and your current (yet expired) EAD card to your employer. These two forms solidify your legalization to continue work in the United States. Show these to your employer and continue working.
You should have still received a Form 1-797C from USCIS if you filed before May 4, 2022. However, the document will only give written permission for 180 days. Since you already sent a form, USCIS will not send another receipt notice explaining the 540-day extension.
Since you qualify, the form they sent you will count toward your 540-day eligibility. You can use this receipt to complete Form I-9. The only problem is that you won’t be able to see the extension date. You must add 540 days from the date your EAD expires or 360 days if your 180-day extension has expired.
If your EAD renewal application is denied, then any automatic extension- 540 or 180 days- will be removed. You will no longer be eligible to work in the United States after your EAD expires.
Employers need to file Form I-9 to be authorized to hire and rehire foreign nationals. To hire and keep your current employees legally working with an EAD, you must verify their EAD automatic extension. Check to see if they have a current EAD card and Form I-979C. Note that their classification needs to match with that on their Notice of Action. You will need to do the math to see if they are within the new EAD automatic extension range.
Once you have established the legality of their EAD extension, you need to update your employee’s Form I-9. It is essential to do this before the date that your employee’s original 180-day EAD automatic extension expires. Be sure to write their EAD and Form I-797C receipt numbers on the I-9.
If you have any questions about filling out form I-9, talk to your immigration attorney today.
The immigration visa and green card lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have over 30 years of experience in immigration law. Filing a Form I-756 and getting an EAD can open up many opportunities during your time in the United States on a non-immigrant or immigrant visa.
If you have any questions about EADs, the EAD automatic extension, or EAD renewals, reach out to us today by calling 312.444.1940 or filling out an online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!