USCIS Announces Streamlined EAD Process for Refugees

Recent changes mean that refugees no longer have to file an initial Form I-766 and Social Security Card after entering the United States.

On March 12, 2024, USCIS announced that all individuals admitted into the United States as a Refugee on or after December 10, 2023 will benefit from a streamlined process that shortens the wait times for Forms I-766/Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Social Security Cards.

Upon admission into the United States, USCIS will begin adjudicating a digitally created Form I-765 for the arriving refugee instead of requiring the refugee to independently file for the EAD after arrival. According to USCIS, this new process will shorten the EAD wait time from several months to 30 days.

This new process and accelerated timeline also help ensure operational continuity and work authorization. While refugees can use certain "receipt" documents (available here) to establish work authorization for a 90-day period, many times the EAD would not arrive until several months later, resulting in work authorization gaps.

As an added bonus, USCIS will also communicate the refugee's arrival to the Social Security Administration, who will then automatically issue a social security card to the refugee.

For more information, see the entire press release here.

Posted: March 13, 2024

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