Indians to Benefit as US Announces 5-Year Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) Validity Extension

Updated on: 2023-10-14 - 2 mins read
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"Indians to Benefit as US Announces 5-Year Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) Validity Extension"

Key Points:

  • USCIS extends EAD validity to five years for certain non-citizens.
  • The change benefits individuals awaiting green cards and aims to streamline processes.
  • Over 1.05 million Indians are in line for employment-based Green Cards.
  • This decision brings hope to Indian immigrants, although the backlog issue persists.
  • It's a positive step in enhancing the immigration process and reducing wait times.


In a significant development, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced a new policy that is set to greatly benefit Indians, particularly those who have been eagerly awaiting their US green cards. This policy change entails the issuance of employment authorization cards with a validity of five years to certain non-immigrant categories, including individuals awaiting their green cards.

A Welcome Change:

The USCIS has now extended the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to five years for initial and renewal EADs for specific non-citizens who are required to apply for employment authorization. These categories include applicants seeking asylum or withholding of removal, adjustment of status under INA 245, suspension of deportation, or cancellation of removal. This move comes as part of the USCIS's broader effort to streamline its processes and reduce backlogs. It's crucial to note that the maintenance of employment authorization still hinges on the noncitizen's underlying status, specific circumstances, and the EAD filing category.

For instance, if an individual receives an EAD based on a pending adjustment of status application for the full five-year validity period, and the adjustment application is denied subsequently, their ancillary employment authorization may be terminated before the expiration date specified on their EAD.

A Glaring Backlog:

This policy alteration arrives at a time when over 1.05 million Indians find themselves waiting in line for an employment-based Green Card. Shockingly, it's estimated that 400,000 of them may pass away before they receive this much-coveted document that bestows upon them legal permanent residency in the US.

Understanding the Green Card:

The Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document granted to immigrants in the US as proof of their permission to reside in the country permanently. The per-country caps are numerical limitations on the issuance of green cards to individuals from certain nations.

In recent times, the backlog for employment-based Green Cards has reached an all-time high of 1.8 million cases, as revealed in a study conducted by David J. Bier of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank. Remarkably, 63% of these cases, approximately 1.1 million, belong to Indian nationals, with an additional nearly 250,000 originating from China, accounting for 14% of the backlog.

A Closer Look at the New Policy:

The USCIS's decision to extend the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to five years is a strategic move with several implications. For those seeking asylum or withholding of removal, this change provides greater job security during the often lengthy asylum application process. Additionally, individuals applying for adjustment of status under INA 245 can now focus on their path to permanent residency with fewer interruptions due to EAD renewals.

Moreover, suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal applicants also stand to benefit from the extended EAD validity. These legal processes can be complex and protracted, often requiring individuals to make their case for remaining in the United States. Having a five-year EAD can provide a degree of stability during what can be a very uncertain period.

A Welcome Change in the Face of Challenges:

The introduction of this policy is timely, especially given the considerable backlog in employment-based Green Card applications. The backlog now stands at a record high of 1.8 million cases, as noted in a study by David J. Bier of the Cato Institute. Of this staggering number, 63% are Indian nationals, equating to approximately 1.1 million cases. An additional 250,000 cases are from China, making up 14% of the backlog.

The immense backlog has caused considerable distress for applicants, often leading to uncertainty, stress, and delays in their immigration process. While the policy change doesn't directly address the backlog, it is a step towards streamlining certain processes, ultimately contributing to shorter processing times and potentially reducing this backlog over time.

Challenges on the Road to a Green Card:

Obtaining a green card is a significant milestone for immigrants in the United States. It opens up a world of opportunities, from employment without sponsorship to eligibility for various government benefits. However, the process is often fraught with challenges, including long wait times, extensive paperwork, and the uncertainty of outcomes. For many, the dream of permanent residency in the United States remains elusive.

Hope and Progress:

In conclusion, the USCIS's decision to issue five-year Employment Authorization Documents brings hope and progress to those navigating the complex path towards permanent residency in the United States. While challenges persist, this policy change is a step in the right direction, demonstrating a commitment to improving the immigration process and easing the burden on countless individuals and families eagerly waiting for their green cards.

As we move forward, it's essential to continue addressing the broader issues surrounding immigration and finding solutions that benefit both applicants and the United States as a whole. This policy change is a glimpse of what's possible when thoughtful reform meets the pressing needs of individuals seeking a better life in the land of opportunity.


The USCIS's decision to extend the validity of employment authorization cards to five years represents a welcome change, particularly for Indians awaiting their green cards. While there is still a substantial backlog of green card applications, this move is seen as a positive step towards streamlining immigration processes and reducing wait times for those seeking permanent residency in the United States.

Official Link:

USCIS increases Employment Authorization Document Validity Period for Certain Categories