Rather than adjudicate cases faster USCIS is extending certain employment authorizations up to 540 days. This is a clear sign that faster adjudication times are still a distant promise and further evidence that USCIS continues to be incompetent.
I remember the days when USCIS had a 90- day turn around policy for issuing EAD cards. Whilst it wasn’t uncommon for USCIS to leave cases pending beyond the 90 days, most cases were adjudicated not long after. Of course, USCIS stopped issuing EADs within 90 days a long time ago and processing times have increased significantly over the last few years, made worst by the lingering pandemic.
Now rather than put a plan in place to adjudicate EADs before the 180-day automatic extension is up, USCIS has now issued a final rule that temporarily increases the automatic extension of certain EADs from 180 days to 540 days, where applicants submit a timely filed extension. This rule is effective as of May 4, 2022.
Applicants previously eligible for the 180-day automatic extension, including H-4 and L-2 applicants (see our previous article https://www.patellegal.com/dhs-agrees-to-allow-h-2-and-l-2-applicants-to-qualify-for-180-day-automatic-ead-extension-as-part-of-settlement/) are now eligible for a 540- day extension. Of course, this will help applicants avoid gaps in employment, but is clearly nothing more than a band-aid. Until USCIS addresses the underlying problem, processing times will never improve.
To be eligible for the 540-day automatic extension applicants must demonstrate the following:
- A timely filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, requesting a renewal.
- A renewal application under a category that is eligible for the automatic extension.
- The category on their current EAD matches the “Class requested” listed on their I-797C receipt notice..
Applicants who had previously filed a renewal application based on the previous 180- day automatic extension will receive an additional 360 days.
If you have questions related to the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch with PLG Partner and Immigration Attorney at firstname.lastname@example.org.