USICS Revives 540-Day Automatic Extension of EADs

Today, April 4, 2024, USCIS announced a temporary final rule increasing the automatic extension period of certain employment authorization documents (EADs) from 180 days to 540 days! This measure restores a pandemic-era flexibility, and helps to protect the continuity of America’s workforce.

During Covid the so-called “automatic extension” of the EAD that previously lasted 180 days was increased to 540 days. That accommodation ended October 26, 2023, and the period of the automatic extension reverted to 180 days on October 27, 2023. Today’s action reinstates the 540-day automatic extension retroactively to renewals filed on or after October 27, 2023. In other words, it simply reverses the return to a 180-day extension leaving in placet he 540-day extension.

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou reports, “Over the last year, the USCIS workforce reduced processing times for most EAD [eligibility] categories, supporting an overall goal to improve work access to eligible individuals. However, we also received a record number of employment authorization applications, impacting our renewal mechanisms.”


The EAD card on its face has a “category” designation followed by letters and numbers, such as (c)(09). The category references a regulation. The sub-regulation (c)(09), for example, means the employee is eligible for the employment authorization, because he has an application for adjustment of status (green card) pending. Employers don’t need to know what the categories reflect, but they must know whether the category is one that qualifies for the 540-day extension.

The extension to 540 days is available to the following eligible individuals, so long as they submitted their EAD renewal applications on or after October 27, 2023, as shown by the “receipt date” on the USCIS-issued receipt notice, and also provided the receipt notice shows the new EAD application is in the same category as the one shown on the expired or expiring card. The categories that qualify for the 540-day automatic extension are:

  • (a)(3), Refugee
  • (a)(5), Asylee
  • (a)(7), N-8 or N-9
  • (a)(8), Citizens of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
  • (a)(10), Withholding of Deportation or Removal Granted
  • (a)(12), Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted
  • (a)(17), Spouse of principal E nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing E (including E-1S, E-2S andE-3S) nonimmigrant status
  • (a)(18), Spouse of principal L-1 Nonimmigrant with an unexpired I-94 showing L-2 (includingL-2S) nonimmigrant status
  • (c)(8), Asylum application pending
  • (c)(9), Pending adjustment of status under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • (c)(10), Suspension of Deportation Applicants (filed before April 1, 1997)
    Cancellation of Removal Applicants
    Special Rule Cancellation of Removal Applicants Under NACARA
  • (c)(16), Creation of Record (Adjustment Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972)
  • (c)(19), Pending initial application for TPS where USCIS determines applicant is prima facie eligible for TPS and can receive an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”.
  • (c)(20), Section 210 Legalization (pending Form I-700)
  • (c)(22), Section 245A Legalization (pending Form I-687)
  • (c)(24), LIFE Legalization
  • (c)(26), Spouses of certain H-1B principal nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status
  • (c)(31, VAWA Self-Petitioners


These are the only EAD categories receiving the automatic extension at this time. This does not apply to lawful temporary residents, students on OPT, DACA recipients, spouses or dependents of A-1 orA-2 visa holders, or those who are in the U.S. under the Family Unity Program.  It is important to note that DACA and other categories do not qualify for the540-day automatic extension.