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Refugees, Asylum Seekers Can Work Legally in the U.S. For Longer Due to New USCIS Rule

Many immigrants who have been waiting to renew their work permit authorizations have automatically received an 18-month extension from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The temporary rule covers immigrants who had a pending renewal application for their Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), commonly known as work permits, as of May 4, 2022. 

Immigrants who file a work permit renewal before October 27, 2023 will also be granted the automatic extension of up to 18 months. After that time automatic extensions of work permits will revert back to the usual 6-month period.

The automatic extension will help USCIS staff work through its backlog of roughly 1.5 million employment authorization applications. The EAD extension allows immigrants to work longer for any U.S. employer or engage in self-employment.

“This temporary rule will provide those noncitizens otherwise eligible for the automatic extension an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families, while avoiding further disruption for U.S. employers,” USCIS shared in a release.

Also Read: What to Know About USCIS, the Agency in Charge of Processing Immigration Cases

To qualify for the automatic EAD extension, immigrants must have filed Form I-765 of the application for employment authorization and belong to one of the following categories. 

  • Refugee
  • Asylee
  • N-8 or N-9
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
  • Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
  • Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E nonimmigrant status
  • Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 nonimmigrant status
  • Asylum Application Pending
  • Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act
  • Suspension of Deportation Applicants
  • Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status
  • VAWA Self-Petitioners

Documented maintains a glossary of common terms related to the U.S. Immigration system. To learn about different visa types and immigration terms, check our updated library.

Also Read: New York Immigration Court Backlog Reaches Historic High

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