USCIS announced on August 16, 2011, its intention to extend employment authorization automatically for Liberian nationals covered under deferred enforced departure (DED) through March 31, 2012. USCIS’s broadcast follows President Obama’s announcement of his decision to extend DED through March 31, 2013, for qualified Liberians and those persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia. The six-month automatic extension of existing employment authorization documents (EADs) for eligible Liberians will permit them to continue working while they file their applications for new EADs. The new EADs will be effective for the full 18 months of the DED extension.

Although DED was scheduled to end for Liberian nationals on September 30, 2011, the administration decided that there are compelling foreign policy reasons to continue deferring enforced departure.

Liberians not eligible for DED include:

  • Those who did not have temporary protected status (TPS) on September 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED;
  • Certain criminals (e.g., aggravated felons and persons convicted of two misdemeanors);
  • Persons subject to the mandatory bars to TPS; and
  • Other ineligible persons as described in the President’s related memorandum.

In addition to automatically extending the validity of EADs for Liberian nationals covered under DED, USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register with instructions for these individuals on how to obtain employment authorization for the remainder of the DED extension. Liberian nationals covered under DED also must include the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and a filing fee of $380 or a fee waiver request.

The USCIS announcement is available here. President’s memorandum is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/16/memorandum-president-regarding-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians. The Federal Register notice is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-08-25/html/2011-21842.htm.