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Can Immigrants with Expired EADs Continue to Work?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be described as a federal agency with a monumental task at hand. Managing millions of foreign applicants who wish to reside in the U.S. for various reasons requires a complex system that must run on certain bureaucratic actions to comply with laws and regulations whose intent may be clear but are nebulous in terms of implementation. This is unfortunate because it often results in situations that don’t make a lot of sense, and renewals of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for immigrants fall into this category. 

Since EAD cards have firm expiration dates, individuals who continue to work beyond those dates are placing themselves and their employers at risk of being noncompliant. Here’s what you need to know if your EAD has expired.

EAD Goals in General

American lawmakers have been complaining about USCIS inefficiencies for years, and one specific complaint has been made with regard to EAD expiration dates. USCIS officials have always insisted on the importance of allowing immigrants to legally work for various economic reasons. At the same time, they don’t want immigrants to fully depend on EAD work permits for their livelihoods. The ideal situation would see the status of an immigrant adjusted to the next step. For example, a foreigner sponsored by a relative may be able to work with an EAD card while waiting for his or her conditional residency application to be evaluated and approved. The problem is that the bureaucratic backlog at USCIS is currently longer than the 12-month period the card is valid for, so the general EAD goal clearly needs to be reassessed.

EAD Renewal Situations

As much as the USCIS doesn’t like to issue EAD renewals, in many cases they become necessary. Immigrants waiting for adjustment-of-status decisions should consult with immigration law firms as to when they should file renewal applications. This is typically done within 60 days of the expiration date. In the past, such an application was discouraged, but the reality of the current situation merits doing so for a few reasons, the most important being the need to continue working and earning a living.

The EAD Renewal Process

As of December 2019, filing a Form I-765 for EAD renewal cost $410. An extra $85 is charged for biometric fingerprinting in cases where applicants fall into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals category or are facing what the USCIS defines as “compelling circumstances.” These fees may be waived in some cases, but this will require a careful review of form instructions, preferably by experienced legal professionals such as the trustworthy attorneys from KS Visa Law, who are among the best immigration lawyers in San Diego.

Automatic EAD Extensions

In an effort to solve the various problems arising from the ineffective EAD system, new rules have been established for EB work visa recipients, who may now qualify for an automatic extension of up to 160 days from their EAD expiration dates. To take advantage of this new rule, a Form I-765 must be properly filed prior to the final date, and there must be an acknowledgment by USCIS that the form is pending review and approval.

If they need information on immigration-related employment issues such as work permits and employer-sponsored petitions, San Diego residents should contact KS Visa Law today. From family immigration law to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

April 2024