Foreign workers will be able to continue using employment authorization document (EAD) approval notices as List C documents to establish work authorization through Feb. 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced.
The accommodation will permit employees with approval notices to complete the I-9 verification process and begin work prior to receiving their EAD cards, which have been held up by processing delays.
“USCIS expected that this interim solution would only be necessary through Dec. 1, 2020, but the delays in producing EAD cards have continued,” said Amy Peck, an attorney in the Omaha, Neb., office of Jackson Lewis.
The policy was enacted in late August after a settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against USCIS related to extensive delays in producing EAD cards. The agency cited COVID-19-related operational issues as the reason for the backlog.
Peck explained that new hires and employees needing to reverify their employment authorization may continue to present the approval notices instead of EAD cards in these instances:
- The notice indicates that the EAD has been approved for at least three months.
- The notice was issued on or after Dec. 1, 2019, through Aug. 20, 2020.
- The employee can present or has previously presented an acceptable List B identity document. Employees who present an approval notice for new employment must also present their employer with an acceptable List B document that establishes identity, such as a driver’s license or a government ID.
“The approval notice should be entered on the Form I-9 as a List C document with USCIS as the issuing authority and the 13-digit receipt number as the document number,” Peck said. “The expiration date should be listed as Feb. 1, 2021, and reverification should be conducted by that date or sooner if the employee receives their EAD card. Absent any further extensions, by Feb. 1, the employee will need to present either a List A or a new List C document.”
USCIS has explicitly stated that the approval notice will not provide evidence of identity as a List B document or serve as a List A document establishing both identity and employment.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also extended its remote I-9 document inspection policy through Dec. 31.
[To dig deeper on this topic, attend SHRM’s upcoming Global Hiring: Complying with U.S. Visa Requirements live online program.]