The USCIS recently announced that it would extend the validity period of initial Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) issued to refugees to two years after their arrival in the U.S.

Previously, the USCIS required renewal of the EAD within one year after the refugee’s arrival. The new policy is designed to provide better customer service to, and reduce the financial burden on, refugees by eliminating the need for refugees to apply for renewal of their work documents before they are able to adjust status to permanent residency. The policy change also ensures consistency in the validity periods for initial EADs issued to both refugees and asylees, as USCIS began issuing two-year initial EADs to asylees in 2006.

While there is no fee for the initial application for a refugee EAD, renewal applications require a fee of $340.