Afghan and Ukrainian nationals with certain classes of admission will be temporarily considered eligible for employment incident to their parole, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced last week.
This means they will no longer need to wait for USCIS to approve their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to begin working. Within 90 days, they will still need to present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents.
Background: Under Department of Homeland Security regulations, refugees are considered employment eligible incident to status. Individuals admitted to the United States via parole generally are not, and USCIS must approve their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before they can begin work. The Biden administration has taken steps to admit more Afghan and Ukrainian nationals to the United States, but has largely done so via parole.
Congress recently passed legislation stating that certain Afghan and Ukrainian nationals admitted to the United States “shall be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157).” DHS subsequently took steps to implement this legislation and said last week that the individuals described above would be authorized for employment incident to their parole.
Affected Afghan and Ukrainian parolees still must submit a Form I-765 in order to receive a physical EAD; however, USCIS said that for the first 90 days of employment, they can provide an unexpired Form I-94 to prove their identity and employment eligibility in the Form I-9 process. After 90 days, they must present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and acceptable List B identity document such as a state-issued driver’s license or identification card. More information is available here.
USCIS also announced it would exempt the fee to file Form I-765 for Ukrainian parolees filing for an EAD by mail. Afghan parolees under OAW were already exempt from the fee for an initial paper-filed Form I-765 (and a replacement EAD). USCIS recently extended this exemption through Sept. 30, 2023.
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