U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this week that it will implement a streamlined process to provide Employment Authorization Documents to eligible refugees after they are admitted to the United States.

Key Points:

  • The new process was soft-launched last year on Dec. 10 following a successful trial period.
  • The new process is fully automated with a digital version of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for arriving refugees.
  • Adjudication will start as soon as refugees are admitted into the United States.
  • The process will shorten the wait time for an EAD to approximately 30 days instead of several months.
  • After USCIS approves a Form I-765, refugees will receive their EAD by mail within one to two weeks (the time frame may vary depending on delivery times).
  • USCIS will also provide the Social Security Administration with the information required to assign a Social Security number and mail a Social Security card to the refugee.

Additional Information: Under U.S. law, a refugee is legally authorized to work as soon as they arrive in the United States. Obtaining proof of this work authorization in the form of an EAD was previously a cumbersome paper-based process that led to undue delays. This new process is the result of coordination across the U.S. government to support the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and refugee integration.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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