U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended temporary measures that were set to expire Dec. 1, allowing employers to accept proof that certain employees have approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications, instead of the EAD itself, for purposes of verifying I-9 employment eligibility.

Key Points:

  • Through Feb. 1, 2021, employers may continue to accept EAD approval notices (Form I-797) that contain a notice date between Dec. 1, 2019, and Aug. 20, 2020, inclusive, for purposes of I-9 employment eligibility verification. New hires who present this document as proof of employment authorization must also present an acceptable List B identity document.
  • Employers who previously accepted an approval notice and entered Dec. 1, 2020, as an expiration date must update their I-9 forms to show the employee’s continued work authorization by writing “Employment Authorization Ext until 02/01/2021” in the Additional Information box in section 2 of the form.
  • By Feb. 1, employers must reverify employees who presented an EAD approval notice by having them present either their new EAD or another acceptable document from either List A or C on the Form I-9.

Background: The temporary measures, announced in August, are meant to address severe delays in processing and issuing EADs. In June, USCIS announced slowdowns in printing of EADs after it ended a contract with the company that printed the cards. In July, the USCIS Ombudsman confirmed that the processing and issuance of EADs and green cards was at reduced capacity because of a hiring freeze and ongoing budget issues.

BAL Analysis: The extension of the temporary measures allows employees affected by the delays in EAD issuance to begin work sooner rather than waiting to receive the actual EAD, if they received the required notification that their EAD application was approved between Dec. 1, 2019, and Aug. 20, 2020. Employers who have accepted an approval notice under the temporary measures are reminded to follow procedures required by USCIS to reverify the employee’s continued work authorization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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