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USCIS Increases Validity Period for Employment Authorization Documents for Certain Categories

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a major policy change for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). 

Employment authorization allows certain noncitizens to legally work in the United States. On one hand, some classes of noncitizens are immediately authorized to work based on the nature of their immigration status. On the other hand, certain classes of noncitizens must apply for employment authorization with USCIS. Once USCIS grants employment authorization, it issues an EAD so that an individual can show that they are legally allowed to work in the U.S. Each EAD comes with a validity period that is determined by USCIS at its discretion. 

Previously, EADs were only valid for a maximum of 1 to 2 years depending on the noncitizen’s status. The recent policy change increases the maximum validity period for initial and renewal EADs. Now certain noncitizens can receive valid employment authorization for up to 5 years. This applies to:

  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Noncitizens who are granted withholding of deportation or removal
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for asylum or withholding of removal
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for adjustment of status
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal
  • Noncitizens paroled as refugees.

Increasing the maximum EAD validity period to 5 years has several benefits. USCIS hopes that this change will reduce the number of times a person has to file an Application for Employment Authorization if they want to renew their EAD. This will also help to decrease burdens on USCIS because it does not have to process renewal applications as frequently. This policy change applies to Applications for Employment Authorization that were pending or filed on or after September 27, 2023. 

For more information about Employment Authorization, schedule a consultation with our office today!