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USCIS Increases Maximum Validity Period to Five Years for Several Categories of EADs, Including Adjustment of Status EADs

Effective immediately, USCIS is increasing the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) in several work authorization categories to five years, from a maximum of one or two years under its prior policy. The new five-year maximum validity will apply to both initial and renewal EADs issued in connection with pending adjustment of status applications and in connection with certain humanitarian classifications or protection from removal. The policy change will apply to Forms I-765 that are pending on or filed on or after September 27, 2023.

The issue

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is increasing the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) maximum validity period to five years for several major categories of EAD applications, up from a one- or two-year validity period under the agency’s prior policy. The change applies to both initial and renewal EAD applications in the affected categories and is in effect for Forms I-765 that are pending on or filed on or after September 27, 2023.

EAD applicants impacted by the change

The new policy covers a wide range of EAD applicants. Those with pending adjustment of status applications who apply and qualify for an adjustment-based EAD – including employment- and family-based adjustment applicants – will receive a maximum five-year EAD validity period under the new policy, up from a two-year maximum validity under the prior policy.

USCIS is also applying a five-year maximum validity to EAD applicants admitted as refugees, granted asylum, or granted withholding of deportation or removal; those with pending applications for asylum, withholding of removal, or suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal; and to those paroled into the United States as refugees in certain cases.

While the change applies to both initial and renewal EADs for affected applicants, any replacement EADs – those sought to replace a card that is lost, stolen, mutilated, or contains erroneous information – will be issued with the same validity period as the original EAD.

What’s next

Adjustment of status and other applicants eligible to benefit from the new five-year maximum EAD validity period will not be required to renew their EADs as frequently as they did under the prior policy, reducing some administrative burden associated with their pending immigration processes. USCIS says that in making the policy change, the agency aims to significantly reduce the number of EAD renewal applications filed with the agency in the next several years, which should contribute to a reduction in case processing times and backlogs.

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