US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have temporarily amended DHS regulations to increase the automatic extension period available to certain Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) renewal applicants from 180 days to 540 days. This is good news for Canadians with EAD cards that are soon-to-expire and recently expired.
What is an EAD?
An EAD card is a document that grants a holder the right to legally work in the US, usually lasting for a year. EAD cards must be renewed following expiration if the holder would like to keep working in the US. An EAD card, however, differs from a Green Card in that its sole purpose is the right to US employment, and it is not a residency permit. An EAD card also differs from an H1-B Visa, which is valid for three years and requires the applicant to meet certain educational criteria and an offer of employment from an American company.
Who qualifies for EAD?
An EAD card is available to non-resident immigrants living in America. It is available to Green Card applicants waiting for their result, spouses of specific employment-based nonimmigrant visa holders (E1, E2, and some H1B), F1 students who are part of an Optional Practical Training program, K1 Visa holders and other categories such as refugees and asylum-seekers.
Recent Changes to US EAD Regime
USCIS has faced tremendous delays in processing EAD cards, which have forced some EAD-holders to leave their jobs. A new rule has been introduced to remedy this, which temporarily amends the DHS regulations to provide an increased automatic extension period applicable to expiring EAD card. The period will be increased from 180 days to 540 days from the expiration date stated on the EAD card for certain renewal applicants who have filed Form I-765 as of May 4th, 2022.
What do these changes mean for a Canadian with an EAD?
This rule will be beneficial for Canadians already possessing EAD cards which require renewal.
- You benefit from the extension if you are an EAD holder who filed a renewal Form I-765, which is pending as of May 4, 2022 and your EAD has not yet expired, or your 180 day auto-extension has not lapsed.
- You benefit if you file the renewal Form I-765 during the 18-month period following the change to the regime in order to avoid a future gap in employment authorization.
- You benefit if you are currently experiencing a gap in employment authorization/EAD validity. This temporary extension provides that the employment authorization/EAD validity resumes on May 4, 2022 and will continue for up to 540 days from the date their employment authorization/EAD expired.