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USCIS Shortens Validity Period of H-4 EADs due to Batch Processing

USCIS has recently implemented “batch” processing of certain categories of EAD applications, including H-4 EADs, whereby the end-dates printed on the cards will be the first of the month in which the applicant’s I-94 expires. For example, if an H-4 visa holder’s I-94 expires April 15, USCIS will issue their EAD card with an end-date of April 1, instead of matching it to the I-94 end-date. All H-4 I-765 applicants with an I-94 expiring anytime in April would receive an April 1 cutoff date on their EAD card.

Requests for correction of the EAD end-date have so far been refused by USCIS on the basis of this new practice of batch processing. USCIS claims the issuance of common validity dates are being implemented in order to achieve “streamlined case processing.” At this time, the only categories of EAD applicants that appear to be affected are those who file their I-765 application in the (c)(26), (a)(17), and (a)(18) categories (H-4, E-1/E-2/E-3 spouses, and L-2 visa holders).

USCIS’s authority to shorten the validity period of these I-765 applicants’ employment authorization appears unclear, particularly in light of recent litigation. Until further updates however, H-4 EAD holders are cautioned to take particular note of the end-date of their EAD card, since it may no longer automatically match the H-1B and H-4 holders’ I-94 end-dates, and they will need to ensure that I-765 renewal applications are timely filed before the first of the month. The 180-day automatic extension policy remains unchanged, and applicants would therefore retain work authorization through their I-94 validity period, as long as the I-765 renewal application has been filed before the EAD card’s printed expiration date.

By: Rebecca Chen

Rebecca Chen is a Partner at Reddy & Neumann. Her representation includes advising clients throughout the non-immigrant and immigrant visa application process, from initial filing, responding to various requests for evidence, and processing at overseas consulates. Her years of experience in the immigration field have made her a knowledgeable resource for complex business immigration matters.