If you work in the U.S. based on an approved employment authorization document (EAD), it is important to note the expiration date of the card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently taking approximately 3 months to issue renewal EAD cards. In most circumstances, if your current EAD card expires before you get your new EAD card, you will not be authorized to work until your new EAD card is approved. While you may think you can show your employer the receipt notice that you have applied for a new EAD and that should suffice, your employer actually can’t legally employ you based just on a pending renewal application; your employer needs a valid EAD card to evidence that you are authorized to lawfully work in the U.S. This can therefore cause a potentially lengthy disruption to your ability to work in the U.S.

However, there are exceptions. Employment authorization documents are issued to people who are authorized to work based on a number of different immigration classifications. You will see on your employment authorization document a letter and a number which indicates what visa category you are in. For example, if you have work authorization based on a pending asylum application, you will see on your card category (c)(8). Some EAD classifications permit for an automatic 180 day reauthorization of your expired card so long as you file for renewal before your current EAD expires and you are otherwise eligible for a renewal. Common categories that are eligible for 180 day reauthorization are:

  • Refugees: (a)(3)
  • Asylees: (a)(5)
  • Temporary Protected Status: (a)(12) or (c)(19)
  • Asylum Applications Pending: (c)(8)
  • Adjustment of Status Applications Pending: (c)(9)
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petitioners: (c)(31)

There are a few other categories which are also eligible for an automatic 180 day extension which can be found here. However, the vast majority of EAD classifications DO NOT provide for an automatic 180 day extension. This includes spouses of E-2 treaty investors. For information on employment authorization for spouses of E-2 treaty investors, please click here.

It is advisable to renew between 3-4 months prior to the expiration of your current EAD to ensure that there is no gap in your ability to work. If you have any questions about employment authorization or other immigration related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

To find out more about the new rules or other investor visas, contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at info@legalservicesincorporated.com.

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