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USCIS Updates EAD Validity Periods to Streamline Processing

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing changes to its Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) policy. Here’s what you need to know:

Extended Validity: USCIS is now allowing certain noncitizens to obtain initial and renewal EADs with a maximum validity period of up to 5 years. This update applies to various categories, including those admitted as refugees, paroled as refugees, granted asylum, recipients of withholding of removal, applicants for asylum or withholding of removal, and individuals applying for adjustment of status under INA 245.

Automatic Employment Authorization: The guidance outlines categories of noncitizens who are automatically authorized to work based on their status or circumstances. It also provides detailed information about using Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, as an acceptable document for employment authorization verification (under List C of Form I-9) when accompanied by identity documentation.

Special Parolees: The policy clarifies that certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are employment authorized incident to parole.

The extension of EAD validity aims to reduce the number of renewal applications and associated processing times. However, it’s crucial to note that employment authorization remains subject to the individual’s underlying status, circumstances, and the specific EAD category. For example, if someone’s adjustment of status application, initially granted employment authorization for 5 years, is later denied, their employment authorization may be terminated before the EAD’s expiration date.

These updates reflect USCIS’s commitment to streamlining processes and reducing backlogs in employment authorization applications.

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