New and Revised Receipt Notices for EAD Renewals15 Mar 2017
On January 17, 2017 a regulation went into effect that permits the automatic extension of certain categories of employment authorization documents (EADs) for up to 180 days based on timely filed EAD renewal applications. This immigration benefit applies to applicants with new, qualifying renewal applications, as well as to those with pending renewal applications filed prior to January 17, 2017, and that otherwise meet the regulatory requirements. For those with qualifying renewal applications filed prior to January 17th, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reissuing EAD receipt notices that evidence the continuing employment authorization.
Who Qualifies for 180-Day Extension?
The January 17, 2017 regulation dictates that foreign nationals will be granted an automatic extension of the EAD if the EAD application is pending in any of the following categories:
- (a)(3) Refugee
- (a)(5) Asylee
- (a)(7) N-8 or N-9
- (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
- (a)(10) Withholding of deportation or removal granted
- (c)(8) Asylum application pending
- (c)(9) Pending adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
- (c)(10) Suspension of deportation applicants (filed before April 1, 1997), cancellation of removal applicants, and special rule cancellation of removal applicants under NACARA
- (c)(16) Creation of record (Adjustment based on continuous residence since January 1, 1972)
- (c)(20) Section 210 Legalization (pending Form I-700)
- (c)(22) Section 245A Legalization (pending Form I-687)
- (c)(24) LIFE Legalization
- (c)(31) VAWA self-petitioners
Categories That Do Not Enjoy the Automatic Extension of Work Authorization
Notably, the regulation does not cover H-4 or L-2 EAD renewal applicants. Further, the regulation only applies to qualifying renewal applications. Hence an I-765 application filed for an initial EAD is not covered. More details on the regulation are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Overview of Final Regulation for High Skilled Workers (23.Nov.2016).
New EAD Receipts Permit Continued Employment
On February 25, 2017, the USCIS announced that it would be issuing new EAD receipt notices to those with qualifying, pending renewal applications. This is being done to provide a qualifying renewal applicant with evidence of continuing work authorization, and can be shown to employers for I-9 employment verification purposes.
The new receipt notices contain the following information:
- The applicant’s EAD eligibility category
- The original receipt date, which is the date the USCIS received the EAD renewal application and which employers must use to determine whether the automatic EAD extension applies
- The notice date, which is the date USCIS reissued the receipt notice
- New information about the 180-day EAD extension
Good News and Bad News for EAD Applicants
The issuance of the new or revised EAD receipt notices authorizing continued employment based on a timely filed EAD application should help many. That is the good news. The bad news is that the USCIS could delay adjudicating an EAD extension and, if the EAD is not adjudicated within the 180-day extended timeframe, the applicant is required to stop working. Any such delay would result in great stress to EAD applicants and their families. Further, if processing delays continue to arise, it is unclear whether the USCIS will give priority to renewal applications filed by applicants who do not qualify for the automatic extension.
Prior to this regulation, the USCIS was required to issue EADs within 90 days. The USCIS was often unable to meet this deadline, however, resulting in the filing of lawsuits against the agency. Only time will tell what impact the regulation will have on EAD processing times, not only for renewal applicants who qualify for the automatic extension, but also for other categories of EAD extensions and for initial EAD applications.
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