In a statement issued by USCIS on October 27th, the agency announced that select renewal applicants for employment authorization would be eligible for automatic extensions of their expiring employment authorization or EADS while their applications are under review. For those who meet the eligibility criteria, the automatic extension will last 180 days. This extension also applies to those who have sought Temporary Protected Status or asylum. Background However, back in May 2022, USCIS introduced a temporary final rule (TFR) that extended the automatic extension period for EADs available to specific EAD renewal applicants, increasing it from up to 180 days to up to 540 days. This recent change is not retroactive; all prior automatic extensions of up to 540 days remain in effect. USCIS is evaluating the need for a new regulatory action similar to the May 2022 TFR, despite previous and ongoing efforts to streamline EAD processing. Automatic Extension for Employment Authorization The automatic extension will be applicable to applicants who file their Form I-765 applications on or after October 27, 2023. Based on the regulations originally laid out in the 2022 temporary final rule, those granted the automatic extension period will receive a final decision on their renewal application or when the up to 540-day period expires. This is calculated from the expiration date of their employment authorization or EAD, whichever happens first. USCIS recently updated its Policy Manual to extend the maximum EAD validity to five years for initial and renewal applications approved on or after September 27, 2023. This update applies to specific categories: \tCertain noncitizens who are employment authorized due to their status or circumstances, including those admitted as refugees, paroled as refugees, granted asylum, and recipients of withholding of removal. \tCertain noncitizens must apply for employment authorization, including asylum applicants and those seeking withholding of removal, adjustment of status, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal. USCIS is dedicated to minimizing gaps in employment and employment authorization documentation for noncitizens with pending EAD renewal applications. The agency has said it is actively working to reduce EAD processing times, allocating additional personnel and implementing process enhancements to bring down the median processing time for specific EAD applications to 30 days. If you have questions about how this change affects your current or prospective status, it's best to book a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys.