Even after 2020, the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic are still lingering today. Businesses have shut down, employers are understaffed, and the lasting mental toll of quarantine is still being felt. Not only has the pandemic affected our everyday lives, but it has also exacerbated many problems, such as the USCIS’s processing times and backlogs.
Back in 2019, the USCIS faced a major financial crisis that reduced the ability to complete caseloads. The USCIS which was “running at a revenue loss”, and left to deal with “continuing backlogs and lengthening process times” was left weakened in 2020 when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit. With processing times and backlogs reaching historic heights, the USCIS’s situation called for change.
On May 3rd, 2022 the USCIS announced a message of relief for certain applicants applying for Work Authorization Applications (EAD), who have been most affected by the backlogs and extraneous processing times.
EAD applicants who before were unable to obtain or continue employment because their visa had expired after 180 days, can sigh a breath of relief!
Effective May 4, 2022, the USCIS has promised to provide a temporary extension for those with expiring employment authorization and/or EADs while their application is pending. The extension period is provided to ensure gaps in employment authorization and documents are avoided. In order to fight unemployment surges and the trouble of having to find replacement workers during a time when labor work is in high demand in the U.S, the USCIS has made efforts to alleviate this hardship by implementing a temporary extension for those who have already submitted and will submit Form I-65 between now and October 26th, 2023.
So, what does this mean for you?
Beginning May 4th, 2022, the DHS would provide up to 360 additional days during your automatic extension time on top of the regular 180 days, amounting to an automatic extension time of up to 540 days.
Instead of receiving a 180-day extension period, now you can receive up to 540 days to submit your Form I-765. This extension period would be counted beginning from the date of expiration of your employment authorization and/or EAD and is only available for certain categories of Form I-765.
Who is eligible?
Those eligible include those who have submitted their Form I-765 renewal application in the following categories:
- (a)(3): Refugee
- (a)(5): Asylee
- (a)(7): N-8 or N-9
- (a)(8): Citizens of Micronesia, Marshall Islands of Palau
- (a)(10): Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
- (a)(12): Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
- (a)(17): Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing nonimmigrant status
- (a)(18): Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing nonimmigrant status
- (c)(8): Asylum Application Pending
- (c)(9): Pending adjustment of Status
- (c)(10): Suspension of Deportation Applicants, Cancellation of Removal Applicants, Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants
- (c)(16): Creation of Record
- (c)(19): Pending initial application for TPS (prima facie and can receive an EAD
- (c)(20): Section 210 Legalization (pending I-1700)
- (c)(22): Section 245A Legalization (pending I-687)
- (c)(24): LIFE Legalization
- (c)(26): Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status
- (c)(31): VAWA Self-Petitioners
Eligibility Time Frames
According to the USCIS Website, this temporary increase is available to all with a pending application if you filed your Form I-765:
- Before May 4, 2022, and your 180-day automatic extension has since expired;
- Before May 4, 2022, and your 180-day automatic extension has not yet expired; or
- Between May 4, 2022, and Oct. 26, 2023, inclusive of these dates
It is important to remember that those who file after October 26, 2023, will not be eligible for this benefit, and the normal 180-day automatic extension period would apply.
Proof of an Automatic Extension
The criteria for receiving an automatic extension have not changed and still include:
- Have timely filed an application to renew their employment authorization and/or EAD on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before the EAD expires (except for certain employees with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and the Form I-765 EAD renewal application remains pending.
- Have been issued a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, issued for the corresponding Form I-765 EAD renewal application, that states an eligibility category that is the same as the eligibility category stated on the front of the EAD except:
- In the case of an EAD and I-797C, Notice of Action, each may contain either an A12 or C19 TPS category code; the category codes do not have to match.
- For H-4 (C26), E (A17) and L-2 (A18) dependent spouses, whose Form I-797C must be accompanied by an unexpired Form I-94 indicating H-4, E, or L-2 nonimmigrant status.
According to the USCIS, individuals who show Form I-797C notices that refer to a 180-day extension, along with their qualifying EADs, still receive the up to 540-day extension under this rule.
Have further questions?
Major efforts have been made by the USCIS to reduce backlogs and allow immigrants to succeed and thrive in the U.S Workplace. Even now as we wait for more laws to pass that make it easier for Immigrants to have access to the ever-growing U.S workforce, we realize that there is a lot of uncertainty and questions surrounding laws in place and how they affect you.
At the Kameli Law, we understand this and have both the experience and success needed to represent our Immigration clients. If you have further questions or need help with your Immigration case, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Kameli and Associates, at email@example.com or 312-233-1000, for legal assistance
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