EAD Automatic Extension Period Will Increase From 180 to 540 Days

03. May. 2022

Today, USCIS announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), available to certain EAD renewal applicants, from 180 to 540 days (360 days of additional automatic extension time). The increase, which will be effective on May 4, 2022, will help avoid gaps in employment for those with pending EAD renewal applications.

What the TFR Will Do

  1. Noncitizens with a pending EAD renewal application whose EAD has expired and whose 180-day automatic extension has lapsed will be granted an additional period of employment authorization and EAD validity, beginning on May 4, 2022 and lasting up to 540 days from the expiration date of their EAD.  Such individuals may resume employment if they are still within the up to 540 day automatic extension period. 
  2. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application still covered under the 180 day automatic extension will be granted an additional up to 360 day extension, for a total of up to 540 days past the expiration of the current EAD.
  3. Noncitizens with a pending renewal application and valid EAD on May 4, 2022, or who timely file an EAD renewal application before Oct. 27, 2023, will be granted an automatic extension of up to 540 days if their EAD expires before the renewal application is processed.

Eligibility for the 540 Day Automatic EAD Extension

Just like the 180-day automatic extension, EAD renewal applicants must:

  1. File (or have filed) an EAD renewal I-765 application before their current EAD expires (or expired); and
  2. The renewal EAD application must falls within one of the qualifying categories, such as:
    • Pending Adjustment of Status (I-485) applicants;
    • Spouse of H-1B nonimmigrants;
    • Spouse of L-1 nonimmigrants*;
    • Spouse of E nonimmigrants*; and
    • Other qualifying categories.

*Note: L and E spouses are employment authorized incident to their status (see ILG's previous alert on this topic), but they may still use Form I-765 to apply for an EAD that shows such authorization.

This temporary rule will allow USCIS an opportunity to address staffing shortages, implement additional efficiencies, and meet its goal of reducing EAD application processing time to three-months by the end of FY23 (Sept. 30, 2023).  As such, beginning Oct. 27, 2023, automatic extensions of employment authorization and EAD validity will revert to the up to 180-day period for those eligible applicants who timely file Form I-765 renewal applications.