Some foreign nationals who are employed in the U.S. are eligible for an automatic extension of their work permit, or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) simply by filing a timely I-765 renewal application. This benefit helps to prevent gaps in employment authorization. Upon receipt of the I-765 application, USCIS will automatically extend the employee’s EAD for 180 days (unless USCIS denies the renewal application, in which case the work authorization terminates immediately). While this appears to be very simple and easy to follow, note that there are some strict eligibility requirements and very specifically timed steps that applicants must take in order to qualify and lock in the automatic extension.
These requirements are:
Timely Filing. The employee must file an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (marking the box for an extension “Renewal of my permission to accept employment”) BEFORE their current EAD expires. NOTE that this requirement does not apply to certain employees with TPS.
Pending Application. The application must remain pending with USCIS.
Same Eligibility Category. The employee’s eligibility category on the front of the EAD is the same eligibility category on the employee’s Form I-797C, Notice of Action. NOTE that this requirement does not apply to certain employees with TPS who have a C19/A12 combination); and
Eligible EAD category: The applicant employee is applying under one of the following categories:
- A03 – Refugee
- A05 – Asylee
- A07 – N-8 or N-9
- A08 – Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
- A10 – Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
- A12 – Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
- C08 – Asylum Application Pending
- C09 – Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act
- C10 – Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997), Cancellation of Removal Applicants, Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants Under NACARA
- C16 – Creation of Record (Adjustment Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972)
- C19 – Pending initial application for TPS where USCIS determines that the applicant is prima facie eligible for TPS and can receive an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”.
- C20 – Section 210 Legalization (pending I-700)
- C22 – Section 245A Legalization (pending I-687)
- C24 – LIFE Legalization
- C31 – VAWA Self-Petitioners
- A12 or C19 – TPS
NOTE that your eligibility category is printed on your current EAD under (you guessed it) “CATEGORY.”
If you are an eligible employee that meets all of these requirements, then USCIS will automatically extend your EAD for up to 180 from the date of the expiration of your most recent EAD. And again, if your I-765 renewal Application for Employment Authorization is denied, then your employment authorization will terminate (end) immediately.
If you have a work permit under one of the above categories, it is recommended that you schedule a reminder for yourself to file your I-765 renewal application about 3 months before it expires. This will give you enough time to get organized to make sure that USCIS receives your application before your current work permit expires.
If you have any questions about whether you are eligible for an automatic extension of your work permit, contact U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel and schedule a consultation: (954) 385-3111 or email@example.com.