On May 4, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a temporary final rule increasing the automatic extension period of employment authorization cards (EAD or I-765) from 180 days to 540 days. The rule takes effect immediately.
In order to qualify for the 540-day extension:
- Individuals must have been issued an EAD in one of the categories listed by USCIS;
- Individuals must have filed an extension of the EAD based on the same category;
- The EAD extension application (Form I-765) must remain pending and not have been denied;
The temporary rule applies to individuals whose EAD extensions are pending on May 4, 2022, and individuals who file an EAD extension from May 4 to October 26, 2023. A full list of categories eligible for the 540-day automatic extension is available through this site. Conspicuously absent from this list are F-1 OPT and DACA-based EAD cards.
This rule comes about as USCIS confronts significant processing delays exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions, hiring freezes, and other fiscal issues. Processing delays have caused otherwise work-eligible individuals to experience gaps in their ability to work. In turn, the delays have placed undue burdens on the individuals and their employers.
Employers do not need to do anything for these automatic extensions to be applied at this time. However, USCIS is focused on process improvement to shorten processing timelines to prevent future extensions. Be mindful of future deadlines that may not be extended.