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I-9 Form Alert: USCIS issues New Guidance for Employers on Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization Documents

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For those that qualify, an employment authorization document (EAD) gives immigrants permission to work for a specific period of time, usually one or two years. For continued work authorization, workers should apply for renewal 180 days before the EAD expiration date to ensure timely approval of the extension.

What happens if the EAD is not renewed before the current EAD expires? In that case, many workers must stop work until the EAD renewal is approved. However, some workers can continue working if their EAD qualifies for the new “automatic extension” rule.

According to the new rule, an individual receives an automatic extension of employment authorization and can continue working for 180 days while waiting for the EAD renewal if:

  • The employee applies for renewal before the current EAD expires;
  • The employee applies for renewal based upon the same employment authorization category as the current EAD; and
  • The employment authorization category is one of the 15 categories which are eligible for the automatic extension.

The USCIS recently issued a fact sheet, providing further details about the rule and specific directions for employers to complete the I-9 form and an E-Verify case when an employee is eligible for an EAD automatic extension. Employers are reminded to use the new I-9 form and use the fact sheet to ensure compliance. Here are compliance resources for employers:

USCIS website page about automatic extension for EAD

USCIS Fact Sheet: Automatic Extensions of EADs Provided by the “Retention of EB-1, EB- 2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers” Final Rule

I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form and instructionsE-Verify – New Rule Effective Jan. 17 Affecting Form I-9 Completion for Certain Employees

I hope this article helps you understand basic immigration requirements, but please don’t consider it as legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances. Immigration rules are complex so contact a qualified immigration attorney for qualified advice and guidance.
For legal advice and guidance for your immigration compliance program, you are invited to schedule an immigration strategy session with me.

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