A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Proposal to Eliminate Asylum EAD 30/90 Days Processing Time Frame

Asylum seekers typically are dealing with very difficult circumstances, which asylum law tries to address with certain rules. Under current law, USCIS must adjudicate an asylum seeker's I-765 application within 30 days. DHS has proposed to remove this 30-day time frame.

The I-765 application is very important for an asylum seeker. It is for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which would allow them to work in the United States. Asylum cases take a long time to process, especially given the current backlog of cases. Not receiving an EAD within a month would make it hard for the asylum seeker to support themselves while their case is pending.

DHS cites security and resource allocation reasons for this proposal. The growing backlog of asylum cases has made it harder to keep up with the 30 day EAD adjudication time frame. DHS explains that having a longer time frame to make a decision allows for more thorough security and fraud investigations. 

Another change included in this proposal is the removal of the 90 day submission requirement for EAD renewal applications. This change is meant to reduce confusion regarding EAD renewals and to align with regulations of other EAD categories. The 2017 AC21 rule already allows for an automatic 180-day extension of certain types of EADs if a renewal application is filed before the expiration date. DHS cites that this is enough to cover gaps in work authorization, and that the 90 day requirement is unnecessary.  This is one less burden for asylum seekers. 

The proposal was published on September 9, 2019 in the federal register. DHS will take comments and suggestions and alter the proposal as necessary.

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