Getting a work permit is an exciting milestone for any aspiring American. Working not only allows you to support yourself or your family but it also gives you a sense of fulfillment. A work permit opens up a whole new world that allows you to monetize your creative or professional skills. That said, you should stay updated with all new requirements from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The new I-765 form that got updates on August 25, 2020 may affect (c)(8) (pending asylum) employment authorization documents. Luckily, we are here to help you stay informed about any changes from the USCIS that may affect your (c)(8) EAD.
All You Need To Know About The New I-765 Form
Gone are the days that merely having a pending asylum application for more than 150 days all but entitled the asylum seeker to a work permit. As has become all too common under the Trump administration, work permits for asylum seekers in particular have become more difficult.
These new filing instructions for the I-765 form are very unforgiving. First, all new applicants will have to wait for at least 365 days (as opposed to 150 days) after the acceptance of their asylum application before filing a (c)(8) work permit application. (It is also worth noting that there is a one-year deadline to file for asylum since the last entry, absent an exception).
Secondly, the new I-765 form has a requirement of lawful entry into the US too. (This has never been a requirement before, and flies in the face of asylum law, which specifically grants the right to file for asylum regardless of manner of entry; see 8 U.S.C. 1158.) Now, to be eligible for an EAD under (c)(8), your last entry into the country should have been lawful. However – there are exceptions. The USCIS can assess whether your situation meets the exceptions to illegal entry bar depending on the responses you give in the new form I-765. So you will have to fight for your work permit.
Employment authorization documents will also be denied to asylum applicants with arrests, charges or convictions. Any person convicted of an aggravated felony or a serious crime in the US after August 25, 2020 will not receive an EAD under (c)(8). Lastly, USCIS will deny any EAD application where the applicant caused delays in the adjudication of their asylum application.
EAD Renewal Under (c)(8)
You do not have to wait for the completion of your asylum application process to get a work permit. Immigrants also need to sustain their well-being in the country regardless of their immigration status, though this is being made appreciably more difficult. Those with work permits can seek a renewal as long as their asylum application is still pending. If your asylum application is denied then your work permit will cease to be valid after 30 days. A timely appeal with the Board of Immigration can save the automatic termination of your EAD.
The processing of work permits by the USCIS takes a considerable amount of time. An average new I-765 form will take between five to seven months to be processed..(This, too is new: for years these applications were processed in 1 – 2 months.) It may take longer too. The USCIS will deliver your EAD card to the address that you wrote when filing the new I-765 form. You can initiate an EAD renewal under (c)(8) up to 6 months before the expiry of the current one – and we recommend filing as soon as you can. The process can get quite complicated with the new requirements of showing proof of entry or arguing why an unlawful entry was necessary. Renewals may take several months to process – but we’ve been seeing even lengthier delays due to not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but mismanagement at USCIS.
Get Professional Help
USCIS issues several updates on requirements, rules and even forms. With countless updates on several forms, it may be difficult to keep abreast with each change. Yet, a delay in filing or errors made may easily result in a declined (or delayed) work permit. This can cause job loss if one’s paperwork is not kept up to date. What should you do? Hire the services of professional immigration lawyers to walk with you throughout your journey.
At the HMA Law Firm, we have attorneys with decades of experience that will guide you through every step of the way. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience acquired over several years working with immigration rules and procedures.