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USCIS Simplifies Procedure for Issuing Refugee Employment Authorization Documents


WASHINGTON, DC-USCIS has initiated a streamlined procedure for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, aimed at expediting the issuance of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to eligible refugees upon their admission to the United States. This new process significantly reduces the EAD wait time to approximately 30 days, a substantial improvement from the previous timeframe of several months. Refugees admitted into the United States on or after Dec. 10, 2023, will benefit from this streamlined approach, receiving their EADs accordingly.

According to U.S. law, refugees are authorized to work immediately upon their arrival in the United States. However, obtaining proof of this work authorization, previously through a cumbersome paper-based process, often resulted in unnecessary delays. The newly implemented process eliminates the need for refugees to apply for an EAD, transitioning to a fully automated system for processing and adjudicating Form I-765, consequently expediting the delivery of EADs upon approval.

Under this updated procedure, USCIS will digitally generate a Form I-765 for newly arrived refugees upon their admission to the United States and promptly begin the adjudication process. Following approval, refugees can expect to receive their EAD within one to two weeks. USCIS will dispatch the EAD via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail to the address on record, with delivery times varying. Individuals are advised to wait for 30 days before making inquiries regarding their EAD.

Furthermore, USCIS will electronically furnish the necessary information to the Social Security Administration for the assignment of a Social Security number and the mailing of a Social Security card to the refugee.

Recognizing the significance of documents such as the EAD and Social Security card for refugees’ integration into the United States, this streamlined process reflects collaborative efforts across the U.S. government to support the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and refugee integration. USCIS remains dedicated to enhancing efficiency by digitizing and streamlining its processes. The implementation of this process commenced on Dec. 10, 2023, following a successful trial period.

It’s important to note that this process does not apply to following-to-join refugees admitted into the United States based on an approved Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. Additionally, refugees seeking replacement or renewal of an EAD will still need to complete and submit Form I-765.

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