USCIS announced on May 3, 2022 that effective May 4, 2022, the 180 day automatic extension for certain applicants who timely applied for a renewal of their employment authorization document (EAD) is increased by another 360 days to 540 days. This will help avoid gaps in employment authorization created by ever increasing USCIS delays in processing the renewal applications.

The following EAD categories are eligible if a properly filed renewal application was filed before the current EAD expired in the same category:

(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;

(a)(12) Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted;

(a)(17) Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E nonimmigrant status;

(a)(18) Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 nonimmigrant status;

(c)(8) Asylum Application Pending;

(c)(9) Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act;

(c)(10) Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997), Cancellation of Removal Applicants, Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants under NACARA;

(c)(16) Creation of Record (Adjustment Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972);

(c)(19) 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”;

(c)(20) Section 210 Legalization (pending I-700);

(c)(22) Section 245A Legalization (pending I-687);

(c)(24) LIFE Legalization;

(c)(26) Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status; and,

(c)(31) VAWA Self-Petitioners.

Noncitizens with a pending EAD renewal application whose 180-day automatic extension has lapsed and whose EAD has expired will be granted an additional period of employment authorization and EAD validity, beginning on May 4, 2022 and lasting up to 540 days from the expiration date of their EAD, such that they may resume employment if they are still within the up to 540-day automatic extension period and are otherwise eligible. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application still covered under the 180-day automatic extension will be granted an additional up to 360-day extension, for a total of up to 540 days past the expiration of the current EAD. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application and valid EAD on May 4, 2022, or who timely file an EAD renewal application before Oct. 27, 2023, will be granted an automatic extension of up to 540 days if their EAD expires before the renewal application is processed.

The automatic extension generally will end upon notification of a final decision on the renewal application or the end of the up to 540-day period (meaning, up to 540 days after the expiration date on the applicant’s facially expired EAD), whichever comes earlier.

For E Spouses and Spouses of L-1’s, USCIS had issued an earlier update confirming that they are considered to be employment authorized considered incident to status, but the EAD remains an option for those who desire to have a card in their possession.

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