USCIS Reports Faster Processing Times for Work Permits for Asylum Seekers

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USCIS Reports Faster Processing Times for Work Permits for Asylum Seekers

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May 26, 2023 | Contributed by Jennifer M. Howard, Esq.

According to the most recent compliance report published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the number of work permit applications (Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization) adjudicated by the agency within 30 days of receipt has increased from a 4.5 percent low in July 2022 to 44.4 percent in April 2023. The agency also reports a 60-day adjudication timeline of 76.1 percent in April 2023, up from a 5.4 percent low in July 2022.

For background, asylum seekers are not eligible for a work permit, or Employment Authorization Document (EAD), until 180 days after filing their application for asylum (Form I-589, Application for Asylum or Withholding of Removal). Within this timeline, the asylum seeker must wait 150 days to file their work permit application (Form I-765), and then they must wait an addition 30 days, for a total of 180 days, to be eligible to receive their initial EAD.

In June 2020, USCIS announced a new rule that sought to change how quickly the agency had to adjudicate asylum seekers’ initial work permit (EAD) applications, from within 30 days of receipt to “as soon as practicable.” This resulted in longer waiting times for EADs and, in turn, lost wages to asylum seekers and a negative economic impact overall on U.S. businesses. In February 2022, a federal court vacated this rule and ordered USCIS to return to processing all initial EAD applications from asylum applicants within 30 days.

Of note, there were more than 708,000 pending asylum applications at the end of 2022, according to USCIS data.

This information is intended for educational purposes only. If you have questions about your eligibility for an immigration benefit, such as asylum or work authorization, or your immigration options, please contact Joseph & Hall at (303) 297-9171 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. If you are already a client of Joseph & Hall and have questions about your case, please contact your attorney to discuss your particular case.

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