Updates to the Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole Document

Last Updated

December 18, 2023

In a Policy Alert issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Sept. 27, 2023, USCIS announced an update to their Policy Manual allowing for some Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to be issued with a maximum validity period of 5 years, as opposed to their previous 2- or 1-year maximum validity depending on the application category.

Applicants who previously received an EAD card with a maximum validity of 2 years include: 

  • Refugees and asylees;
  • Noncitizens paroled as refugees;
  • Noncitizens granted withholding of removal;
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for asylum or withholding of removal; and
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for adjustment of status under INA 245.

Applicants who previously received an EAD card with a maximum validity of 1 year include: 

  • Noncitizens seeking suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.

All EADs that are currently pending or were filed on or after Sept. 27, 2023, including initial and renewal cards issued after Sept. 27, 2023, that fall into the above listed categories will be issued with a maximum 5-year validity. In the Policy Alert, USCIS notes that their goal is to reduce the number of I-765, Applications for Employment Authorization, that they receive at their processing centers and reduce the number of applications that noncitizens need to complete in order to renew their EAD. We can expect that this update will decrease the significant backlogs and increased processing times that USCIS has been facing during the last few years.

It is important to note that while the EADs will be issued for a maximum period of 5 years, any EADs filed under the (c)(9) category, based on a pending adjustment of status application, will only continue to remain valid so long as the underlying Form I-485, Adjustment of Status application (AOS), remains pending. Should the AOS be denied, the EAD will no longer be valid and the foreign national will need to rely on another form of employment authorization. Should the AOS be approved, the foreign national will not need to rely on their EAD card as their form of employment authorization, but rather utilize their green card, once issued, as proof of authorization.

While the Sept. 27, 2023, USCIS Policy Alert does not mention whether Advanced Parole (AP) applications that are adjudicated together with the EAD, or separately, will be valid for five years as well, we have found in practice that applications for AP filed on or after Sept. 27, 2023, have been issued with a five-year validity, as opposed to their previous two-year validity.

RIS clients are encouraged to contact their assigned attorney if they have any questions regarding their EAD or AP validity.