work permit renewal

Getting your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will not be the last time you have to go through the process. Your EAD has an expiration date, and you should be well prepared and ready for a work permit renewal long before that date. This 2022 complete guide is the first significant step in that preparation. We’ll go over the work permit renewal process, I-765 filing fee, EAD renewal processing time, and more.

Employment Authorization Document (I-765) Renewal Process

Like almost every other application related to the Department of Homeland Security, the I-765 employment authorization has some conditions. It also has an expiration date, so it is subject to renewal before it expires. Due to the number of weeks the process usually takes, not filing it early enough might lead to a delay. A delay may put you in a difficult situation if your current EAD expires before completing the process for the new one.

When Should You File for Work Permit Renewal?

USCIS usually issues an EAD with a one-year or two-year validity period. You can file for the renewal any time starting from four months before the expiration of the current work permit. Determine your EAD’s expiration date by checking the front of the card. You may decide to file and complete your I-765 renewal application online. If you are filing online, you must be sure you are filling the I-765 latest version. You can also download the form and complete it by hand.

As an AOS applicant working with an EAD, even if you are very positive that your green card will be ready before your work permit expires, it is advisable to still apply for a renewal. There could still be a twist of events that will prolong your green card process further than you anticipated. And working without authorization is not an option. Unless you have a valid nonimmigrant status, USCIS may flag you for unauthorized employment if you work without an EAD.

File I-765 Form, Work Permit Renewal

The work permit renewal application requires the same steps and processes you took while applying for the original EAD.

  • You must expressly state your purpose of filing for the I-765 from the options, which are
    1. Initial permission
    2. Replacement of damaged lost or stolen EAD; or
    3. Renewal of EAD
  • Since you are filing for renewal, you must submit a copy of your current EAD
  • You must enter all the required information
  • Append your signature after you might have filled the form

If you fail to completely fill out the application form and provide all the required evidence, it might lead to the denial.

EAD Renewal Supporting Documents

Apply to renew the card with USCIS by submitting the I-765 with the following supporting evidence:

  • A copy of your current EAD
  • A copy of your I-94, a print-out of your electronic I-94, your passport, or any other available travel document
  • Two identical passport photographs
  • If you are an I-485 green card adjustment of status applicant, provide evidence that you have a pending AOS petition with the USCIS (e.g., a copy of your I-485 form receipt notice).
  • A copy of a valid government-issued identity document

I-765 Filing Fee

If you are filing for renewal of your I-765, there is a filing fee of $410. Make a payment with your form submission. After filing your application, you can make your payment online using various online payment options like a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.

When you are ready to submit your application, you will be directed to pay.gov where you will pay your fee. You must, however, be very careful so you are not scammed by paying into scammers’ accounts. For this reason, you will have to double-check the website address to be sure you are on the USCIS site and not some fraudulent page.

I-765 Fee Waiver

USCIS grants some applicants a payment waiver which exempts them from paying the filing fee. The I-765 filing fee exemption is usually for those who are unable to pay the fee due to economic or medical reasons. For the filing fee waiver, you have to make an official request to the USCIS by doing the following:

  • Sending a letter requesting the I-765 filing fee exemption explaining your reasons for the request
  • Accompanying your letter with copies of documents backing up your claims of inability to afford the fee
  • Ensuring the letter is written in English and signed
  • Mailing your request to the USCIS

The USCIS will review your letter and, upon review, may also request that you provide more supporting evidence before they confirm your I-765n filing fee waiver approval or denial.

EAD Renewal Processing time

USCIS processes an EAD renewal like a normal EAD application, so the work permit processing time depends on your type of visa and the processing center that it is going through. As of May 2022, EAD processing time can range from anywhere from 2 months to 20 months.

EAD renewal processing time for I-765 forms going through the National Benefits Center.

For the most up-to-date processing time information, make sure you know how to check the times accurately.

Begin the process four months before the expiration date, which is on your EAD, but not before. For instance, if your EAD is to expire in the next 120 days, you can file your renewal application now.

Understanding the Difference Between Work Permit Renewal and Replacement

There is a difference between an EAD renewal and replacement, as explained by the USCIS. Your specific case will determine if you will need a replacement or renewal.

Work Permit Renewal

USCIS requires a work permit renewal if you still meet eligibility but your current EAD is about to expire or has expired. In addition, you will need to file a new I-765 form as explained above and pay the filing fee (unless USCIS grants a fee waiver).

Work Permit Replacement

Two instances may necessitate work permit replacement

  • Your EAD is stolen, lost, or destroyed

If this is the case, you will also need to file an I-765 and pay the filing fee.

  • If your EAD contains incorrect information

The second situation that may warrant an EAD replacement is having incorrect info on your card. However, the steps to take will depend on two things:

  • If the incorrect information is not due to a USCIS error, follow the same process as the renewal application and pay the filing fee. In addition to other required documents, you must submit the work permit card containing the error. 
  • If the incorrect information is due to a USCIS error, you do not need to file a new form or pay the filing fee. The USCIS will make the appropriate correction on the card at no additional cost to you. You will only need to provide the following to the USCIS:
    • The original work permit card containing the error
    • A detailed explanation of the error on the card
    • Supporting documentation for the correct information

Temporary Automatic EAD Extension 2022

To help reduce gaps in employment due to the USCIS backlogs, the government enacted a temporary automatic EAD extension for certain visa holders. EAD extensions usually last 180 days, but under the temporary rule the extension will be for up to 540 days. The temporary rule will expire on October 27, 2023.

Those eligible for the longer automatic extension must correctly file an EAD renewal before their current EAD expires and must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Refugee: (a)(3)
  • Asylee: (a)(5)
  • N-8 or N-9: (a)(7)
  • Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau: (a)(8)
  • Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted: (a)(10)
  • Granted Temporary Protected Status: (a)(12)
  • Spouse of E nonimmigrant with unexpired I-94: (a)(17)
  • Spouse of L-1 nonimmigrant with unexpired I-94: (a)(18)
  • Asylum Application Pending: (c)(8)
  • Pending Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act: (c)(9)
  • Suspension of Deportation Applicants, Cancelation of Removal Applicants, Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants under NACARA: (c)(10)
  • Creation of Record: (c)(16)

Work Permit Background

What is Work Permit (I-765) Employment Authorization?

Immigrants to the U.S. come through different entry visas, including visit, student, marriage, and work visas. Having settled down in the country, you would want to get something going to have a regular source of income. If your visa to the U.S. allows you to obtain employment, you can file for an I-765 employment authorization application.

No matter your qualifications, the lack of authorization will always be a barrier between you and the job. No U.S. entity will get you on their payroll if USCIS  has not granted you work authorization.

How Long Is a Work Permit (EAD) Valid?

A work permit’s validity period will depend on each applicant’s case. This is because the USCIS usually issues an EAD based on the validity of each applicant’s underlying nonimmigrant current status. In most cases, USCIS issues an EAD with a one-year validity period with the option of renewal before its expiration. The number of times permitted for renewal will also depend on each applicant’s status.

However, in some cases, USCIS may issue an EAD with a validity period of up to two years. This type of EAD is available to green card adjustment of status (AOS) applicants who are currently unable to adjust their status due to the unavailability of an immigrant visa number. To be eligible for a work permit with a two-year validity period, applicants must submit their approved I-140 petition. Asylum applicants are another category of people who may get an EAD valid for two years.

Work Permit Renewal FAQs

What If My I-765 Employment Renewal Application Is Delayed?

After receiving your application, the USCIS will send you a mail to confirm receipt of your form. You are to keep the receipt as you will need it later on. During the process, the USCIS may invite you to appear in person at their application support center to have your biometrics taken.

When going for the interview, make sure that you bring the appointment letter and application confirmation notice sent to you by the USCIS. While waiting for the completion of your application process, the system also allows you to check the status of your application online to keep tabs on the progress of your application. To access to the status, you will need to visit the USCIS website and enter your receipt number.

Through regular communications with the USCIS, you should know how soon you are to get your work permit renewal approved. However, if you have appropriately completed the form your EAD is being delayed after 90 days, you can contact the USCIS to learn the reason for the delay and ask for the process to be expedited.

To be sure you are not the cause of the delay in the first place, you will need to review all the requirements and supporting evidence in the application form you filed to know if you did not leave out any requested evidence while filing.

What If My Work Permit Expires Before I Receive My Renewal?

As the immigration landscape changes in the U.S., the work permit renewal processing time has been increasing on average. Many factors affect work permit processing time. Waiting too long to file for your renewal can be dangerous. In addition, if your work permit expires before you receive your renewal, then you could be at risk of losing your job or otherwise violating your nonimmigrant status.

This could have long-term consequences, especially if you plan to adjust your status and obtain a green card and citizenship in the future. Once you file your I-765, you should receive a notice from the USCIS that extends your EAD validity period six months past its expiration. Talk to your immigration attorney to see if you have more time than you think before your work permit expires.

What Happens If My EAD Renewal Application Is Denied?

If your application is denied, the USCIS will send you a notice indicating the reason. Facing an EAD application denial will affect your eligibility to continue working in the U.S. Therefore, it is essential to consult an immigration lawyer on the next step to take.

Just like many other immigration cases, you can file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. This means you want the USCIS office to reconsider or re-examine its decision on your case.

If you file a motion to reopen, you must provide documented evidence with new facts to support that your case deserves to be reopened. Suppose you are opting for a motion to reconsider. In that case, you must be able to establish that the decision was due to an incorrect application of the law on the part of the evaluating officer.

Whichever you choose out of the two options, ensure that you provide enough supporting evidence. However, it is worth noting that it is the prerogative of the Administrative Appeals Office to either uphold or reverse the case. However, working with an experienced immigration attorney will help you make an informed decision that will significantly improve your chances of successful application.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help 

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There has been a continual rise in I-765 application processing delays for some years now. To avoid experiencing delay or denial of your work permit renewal application process, the best thing you can do is to engage the service of an expert in immigration matters. VisaNation Law Group immigration attorneys are qualified and experienced in helping applicants initiate and complete their I-765 work permit renewal process.