Yesterday marked another occurrence of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) placing a bandage on processing backlogs with the announcement of a temporary rule that increases the automatic extension period to up to 540 days for employment authorization available to certain applicants who have filed Form I‑765, Application for Employment Authorization, renewal applications. This temporary rule is a bandage that provides eligible noncitizens with a pending renewal application:
- An additional 360‑day extension if their EAD is still covered under the 180‑day automatic extension, for a total of up to 540 days past the “Card Expires” date of the current EAD; or
- An additional period and resumption of employment authorization and/or EAD validity if their 180‑day extension has lapsed, for up to 540 days past the “Card Expires” date of the current EAD.
While this is welcome news for nonimmigrants who are concerned about the end of the 180 day processing cycle for renewals, it is a sign that USCIS processing delays are not going to speed up as per USCIS’ recent filing guidance in March 2022 in which a new cycle time goal of 3 months was announced for all I-765 applications. USCIS appears to be kicking these EAD renewal cases down the road in order to clear up backlog in other filings, such as new EAD applications. What continues to be an issue is USCIS processing times across all categories will be severely backlogged. Time will only tell whether this temporary rule on automatic renewals will speed up the processing for pending initial EAD cases. One thing is certain, renewal applications for EADs will not be processed any quicker.
Should you wish to apply for U.S. employment authorization, please contact an attorney with the Immigration Practice Group at Fox Rothschild to discuss your eligibility.
Mr. Harley is a Partner in the Immigration Practice Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. Mr. Harley’s practice covers the United States and Consulates worldwide. Mr. Harley is based in our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 412-391-2418.