The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policies regarding the validity period for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for specific groups of noncitizens. These changes try to make the immigration process more efficient and reduce the administrative burden on applicants. As immigration attorneys, we want to inform you about these important changes to work authorization policies.
- EAD validity periods extended from 2 to 5 years for various categories.
- Use of Form I-94 as evidence of status and employment authorization.
- Special provisions for Afghan and Ukrainian parolees.
- Effective immediately for pending and future applications.
Understanding the Policy Update
USCIS recently issued Policy Alert PA-2023-27, which introduces significant changes in the validity periods for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) issued to various categories of noncitizens. These categories include refugees, asylees, noncitizens granted withholding of removal, noncitizens with pending applications for asylum, noncitizens with pending applications for adjustment of status, and noncitizens seeking suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.
Extending Validity Periods
Previously, EADs for these categories had a maximum validity period of 2 years. To streamline the process and reduce the need for frequent renewals, USCIS has extended the maximum validity period for these EADs to an impressive 5 years. This means that eligible individuals will not need to renew their EAD as frequently as before. This provides foreign nationals and their employers with more stability and peace of mind.
Responding to Stakeholder Feedback
These policy changes were driven by valuable feedback from stakeholders in response to a Request for Public Input. Stakeholders recommended increasing the maximum EAD validity periods for specific categories. USCIS listened and acted on these suggestions. This policy change aims to simplify the renewal process for affected noncitizens and reduce the associated administrative hassle.
Use of Form I-94 as Evidence
The update also clarifies that the Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) can now serve as both evidence of status and employment authorization for certain EAD categories that are employment authorized incident to their status or parole. This change provides greater flexibility and ease for eligible noncitizens.
Special Consideration for Afghan and Ukrainian Parolees
Certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are now considered employment authorized incident to their parole. This policy aligns with the spirit of legislation that provides them with benefits similar to those available to refugees. This is a positive step towards aiding individuals seeking a better life in the United States from these war-torn countries.
These policy changes are effective immediately and apply to Applications for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) that are pending or filed on or after September 27, 2023. The guidance provided in the USCIS Policy Manual replaces any previous guidance on the subject.
As your immigration attorney, we are committed to keeping the immigrant community informed about the latest immigration policy updates and changes that may affect your status. These policy changes are designed to make the immigration process smoother and more accessible.
If you have questions or need assistance with your immigration matters, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can call 425-250-8110 or email [email protected]. You can also fill out the contact form on our website to request a personal consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.
We are here to help you navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration with confidence and ease. Stay tuned for more informative updates from our team.