DHS Has Temporarily Increased Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization and/or Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

Normally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations provide for an automatic extension period of up to 180 days from the expiration date stated on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for applicants within certain employment-eligible categories who have a timely filed and pending request to renew employment authorization and/or EAD. However, due to severe backlogs with adjudication exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 4, 2022, DHS published a rule to temporarily increase the automatic extension period from up to 180 days to up to 540 days.

This temporary rule applies to any qualifying renewal applicants whose Forms I-797C, Notices of Action, have a “Received Date” of October 26, 2023, and earlier. Those who file their application after October 26, 2023, will receive an extension of up to 180 days. Further, it can apply to EADs before May 4, 2022, if they have since expired after 180 days, or not yet expired. EAD extension applications filed after October 26, 2023, will revert to the 180-day automatic extension. 

As a reminder, the categories that qualify for the automatic extension are A03, A05, A07, A08, A10, A17*, A18*, C08, C09, C10, C16, C20, C22, C24, C26*, C31, and A12 or C19. *Note that the automatic extension rule for E, L-2, and H-4 dependent spouses, including E-1S, E-2S, E-3S and L-2S class of admission codes on Form I-94.

Please note that a renewal applicant whose 180-day automatic extension expired before May 4, 2022, can still receive the benefit of the temporary increase of the automatic extension period. This employment authorization and/or EAD validity will automatically resume beginning on May 4, 2022, for any time remaining within the up to 540-day automatic extension period. The automatic extension time is counted from the expiration date of the employment authorization and/or EAD. *For E, L-2, and H-4 dependent spouses, including E-1S, E-2S, E-3S and L-2S class of admission codes, count up to either 540 days or the expiration date on Form I-94, whichever is earlier, since their automatic extension period cannot exceed the Form I-94 end date.

Employers should complete Form I-9 using the same guidance applicable to those who present a Form I-797C Notice of Action receipt notice indicating that the Form I-765 renewal application was filed before May 4, 2022, and that states the normal 180-day automatic extension period. For exact details, please refer to this USCIS webpage

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.