The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a temporary final rule in May 2022. This rule increased the duration of automatic extensions of employment authorization documents (EAD) from 180 to 540 days, which will soon expire. Those using these crucial documents to complete their employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) should know that the EADs will lose the extended automatic extension period.
Under existing regulations, individuals can benefit from an automatic extension of 180 days from the expiration date provided on their EADs. Eligible individuals can file Form I-765 for an employment authorization extension. However, they must apply before their current EAD expires and ensure the EAD is in an eligible category for automatic extension. If qualified, this extension period allows these individuals to continue to work even though the EAD is facially expired.
Backlogs and extended processing times have made it difficult for workers and their employers to avoid interruptions to employment authorizations. This struggle has continued despite the 180-day extension. As a result, the USCIS published this temporary final rule to include an additional 360 days to the extension period. This rule increases the total to 540 days for eligible applicants for renewal.
This increased automatic extension period is available to those with pending Form I-765 applications for renewal filed:
Under the final rule, these 540-day extensions will sunset on October 26, 2023. After this date, renewal applications will only become eligible for the ordinary extension period of up to 180 days. However, applicants will maintain their eligibility for the increased extension period when properly filing an eligible Form I-765 renewal application on or before this date.
Employers should act quickly in response to this fast-approaching expiration. For example, they should review any employee’s soon-to-expire EADs. Employers should ensure their employees can take advantage of the 540-day extension before it expires. Furthermore, employees can avoid interruptions in their work authorizations, especially if they use EADs as a List C document for Form I-9, by beginning the renewal or extension process immediately.
Employers should consider incorporating an electronic I-9 management tool into the employment eligibility verification process. This tool can help ensure uniform compliance by providing step-by-step guidance, helpful reminders, and simple digital storage for forms and documentation.
When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.