As of October 1, USCIS started to expedite the processing of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications submitted by parolees who have arranged appointments through CBP One. This enhancement applies specifically to parolees, allowing them to apply for work authorization without the delay faced by asylum seekers. USCIS is committed to reducing the average processing time for these applications from a lengthy 90 days down to a much more manageable 30 days. This efficiency will also extend to EAD applications connected with the parole processes of Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan individuals, with the same 30-day target processing time.
In addition, USCIS is introducing an extended validity period for initial and renewal EADs, granting certain noncitizens, such as those admitted as refugees, those granted asylum, recipients of withholding of removal, and applicants for asylum, adjustment of status, or cancellation of removal, a maximum validity period of 5 years. This change aims to reduce the frequency of work authorization renewal applications, subsequently lessening the workload and processing times. This shift in focus will enable USCIS to channel their resources toward processing initial work authorization cases more efficiently.
For individuals already eligible to work in the United States, USCIS is streamlining the employment authorization process. Parolees who have scheduled appointments through the CBP One mobile app, those under parole processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans for up to two years, and applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can now immediately seek work authorization. Surprisingly, only a small percentage of working-age individuals who have been paroled through the CBP One app nationwide have applied for employment work authorizations. To raise awareness, the Biden Administration has launched a campaign, sending email and SMS notifications to specific parolees, including those paroled through CBP One, to inform them of their eligibility to apply for employment authorization. This effort is further reinforced by personnel on the ground. So far, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has sent over 1.4 million email and text notifications in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Ukrainian, and Russian. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is deploying 50 personnel to New York this month to educate recently arrived migrants on the immigration system and guide them through the application process for employment authorization documents.
These recent measures align with a series of actions undertaken by USCIS to improve processing times for various forms and ensure timely access to employment authorization. In May 2022, a temporary final rule was established to automatically extend EADs for certain renewal applicants, allowing tens of thousands of noncitizens to regain work eligibility. This rule provided relief for those whose EADs had expired through no fault of their own. Additionally, EAD validity periods were previously extended for asylees, refugees, noncitizens with withholding of deportation or removal, parolees, and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners.