From U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
On Monday, February 7, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began issuing new and renewed Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with longer validity periods to certain applicants.
What Does This Mean?
USCIS announced it is now issuing new and renewed EADs that will be valid for two years for applicants who were:
- Admitted as a refugee (the category on the EAD will show as A03);
- Granted asylum (EAD category: A05);
- Granted withholding of deportation or removal (EAD category: A10); or
- A VAWA self-petitioner (EAD category: C31).
Additionally, USCIS announced it will issue new and renewed EADs that will be valid up to the end of the parole or deferred action period for applicants who were:
- Paroled into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit (EAD category: C11); or
- Granted deferred action (EAD category: C14). Please note that this category does not include DACA recipients.
This change does not apply to EADs that USCIS issued before February 7, 2022, and applying for a replacement will not extend an EAD’s validity period. USCIS will continue to issue replacements with the same validity date as the original EAD.
Why This Matters
Issuing EADs that are valid for a longer time will help ease USCIS’ backlogs because applicants will no longer need to renew their EADs as frequently. This change will also help prevent gaps in employment authorization.
The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) is pleased to see USCIS make this change. Based on stakeholder feedback, we have been discussing, among other things, the impact of backlogs on EADs with USCIS leadership and proposed extending EAD validity periods to USCIS as one way to mitigate stressors on the agency and applicants. This is the kind of systemic problem-solving the CIS Ombudsman undertakes to improve the immigration benefits system and those who rely on it.
Visit the USCIS Policy Manual for Comment page to see USCIS’ policy alert on this change and how to submit comments to USCIS.