In yet another effort to combat growing backlogs and extended processing delays caused by the COID-19 pandemic and staffing issues, USCIS has updated its policy guidelines regarding the validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (hereinafter referred to as “EAD”), commonly referred to as work permits, for certain filing categories.
Under the current rules, asylees, refugees, noncitizens with withholding of deportation or removal orders, and VAWA self-petitioners who apply for an initial or renewal EAD receive an EAD with a one-year validity period.
Additionally, there are instances where noncitizens with deferred action and parolees who apply for an initial or renewal EAD are issued work permits for a validity period shorter than the duration of the underlying deferred action or parole period. This in-turn results in applicants being forced to file multiple Applications for Employment Authorization (USCIS Form I-765) to obtain employment authorization to cover their entire period of deferred action or parole.
With these considerations in mind, USCIS has revised its Policy Manual to provide for initial and renewal EADs to be issued with a maximum validity period of two-years for applicants who are asylees, refugees, noncitizens with withholding of deportation or removal orders, and VAWA self-petitioners. Furthermore, for applicants who are parolees or who have received deferred action, EAD’s will be issued up to the end of their authorized stay period, thus alleviating the need for these non-citizens to file multiple EAD applications.
This change to the USCIS policy manual is effective immediately. Therefore, these updated guidelines will be applied to EADs issued on or after February 7, 2022.
Unfortunately, EADs that were issued prior to the February 7, 2022, Policy Alert are not affected by this positive development. USCIS has explicitly noted that it will “continue to issue replacement EADs with the same validity dates as the original EAD” for those applicants who were issued EADs prior to the policy update.
This Policy Alert notes that it does not affect beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, despite this proviso, DACA beneficiaries are still entitled to a two-year EAD by virtue of a Court Order issued in Batalla Vidal, et al. v. Wolf, et al., 16-CV-4756 (NGG) (VMS) (E.D.N.Y.) and State of New York, et al. v. Trump, et al., 17-CV-5228 (NGG) (VMS) (E.D.N.Y.)
The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. is Here for You
Here at The Law Office of George K. Gomez, our immigration attorneys are keeping up to date with the latest State Department and USCIS policy changes so that we can provide our clients with the best legal representation possible. Should you have questions regarding USCIS case processing, EAD delays, or any other immigration matter, our immigration attorneys can evaluate your case and help determine your best path moving forward.
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