Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) extensions are confusing. Before you can figure out whether one of the various extensions applies, you need to identify the EAD category.

Certain EAD applicants are entitled to 180-day automatic extensions if they have pending, timely filed EAD renewal applications. The code on the face of the expired EAD indicates eligibility.

Those who are eligible include:

  • Refugees (A03)
  • Asylees (A05)
  • Parent or dependent child of an international organization employee granted permanent residence (A07)
  • Citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands or Palau admitted as nonimmigrants (A08)
  • An individual granted withholding or deportation or removal (A10)
  • Certain asylum applicants (C08)
  • Adjustment of status applicants (C09)
  • NACARA applicants for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal (C10)
  • Registry applicants (C16)
  • Special agricultural workers (C20)
  • Legalization applicants under INA 245A (C22)
  • LIFE applicants (C24)
  • VAWA beneficiaries and children (C31)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries (A12 and C19)

Applicants who are entitled to 180-day automatic extensions are now entitled to 540-day automatic extensions if:

  • They have pending timely filed EAD renewal (even if their 180-day extension has already expired); or
  • They timely file an EAD renewal application between May 4, 2022, and October 26, 2023; and
  • They are requesting a renewal in the same category as the expired EAD (except for TPS beneficiaries who may mix and match A12 and C19 codes).

For filings after October 26, 2023, the 540-day renewal will sunset leaving only the 180-day extension.

Certain H (C26), L (A18), or E (A17) spouses are also entitled to 180- or 540-day automatic renewals, but the automatic extensions cannot exceed their Form I-94 end dates. Moreover, L or E spouses with proper annotations on their I-94s have employment authorization incident to status, so they may not need an EAD.

To ease the 540-day calculation, USCIS has created a new tool, an EAD Automatic Extension Calculator. The calculator helps to determine the 540-day end date, once you know if the 540-day automatic renewal applies.