The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a temporary order to increase the automatic extension period for certain Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal applications. Please see below for an explanation of what this means, how it works, when the extension goes into effect, and why the government chose to automatically extend certain EAD renewal applications.
What is the automatic extension and how does it work?
This automatic extension allows the 180-day extension given to eligible EAD renewal applications to be a 540-day extension. This means that a person with an eligible EAD renewal application (Form I-765) can now continue to work for their employer for 540 days after the expiration of their EAD.
The extension is automatic so long as you filed within the same category under which you received your initial EAD and filed for renewal prior to the date of expiration on your current EAD. You do not have to do anything to receive this benefit other than fall within an eligible category and to have an EAD renewal pending. You will not receive any updated receipt notice, but the date on your previously received notice will suffice as proof of qualification.
To summarize, you must meet all three requirements below to qualify for the 540-day automatic extension:
Note that F-1 STEM OPT EAD extensions are NOT eligible for this 540-day automatic extension.
When will the automatic extension go into effect?
The 540-day automatic extension will apply to eligible EAD renewal applications that are filed and pending on May 4, 2022, plus EAD renewal applications filed between May 4, 2022 and October 26, 2023.
Why did the U.S. Government do this?
The U.S. government rolled out this extension for two reasons: First, to mitigate the gap in work authorization that foreign nationals who are waiting for EAD renewal applications are experiencing; and second, to help U.S. employers maintain stability in their workforces. Simply put, EAD renewal applications are taking too long to process, and USCIS is trying to mitigate the harm this is causing to foreign nationals and employers.