Renew your work permit before October 26, 2023 to receive a 540 day extension!

Last updated on September 1, 2023

April 2024 Update: USCIS is again extending work permits for 540 days! You can find current information about the extension here.

We want to make sure you know about an important deadline. Until October 26, when you apply to renew your work permit based on a pending asylum application, USCIS will extend your current work permit for 540 days.

After October 26, this policy will change, and your work permit will only be extended for a shorter period of 180 days.

If you would like to receive the longer, 540-day extension, USCIS must receive your work permit renewal application before October 26. 

You may be wondering whether you should apply to renew your work permit right now. The answer depends on when your work permit will expire. Continue reading, and learn what to do if your work permit will expire in less than 6 months, in 6 to 9 months, or in more than 9 months.

My work permit will expire in less than 6 months. Should I apply to renew my work permit before October 26, 2023?

Yes. If your current work permit expires in less than 6 months, you should submit a renewal work permit application before October 26 to receive the 540 day extension.

Many asylum seekers need their work permit to be extended for 540 days so they can keep their jobs while they wait for USCIS to renew their work permit. USCIS is currently taking more than one year to process many work permit renewal applications.

This means that a 180-day extension will probably be too short for some asylum seekers, because the extension will end before a new work permit card arrives.

My work permit will expire in 6 to 9 months. Should I apply to renew my work permit before October 26, 2023?

Probably. If your current work permit expires in 6 to 9 months, it may help to submit a renewal application before October 26 to receive the 540 day extension. As explained above, USCIS is currently taking more than one year to process many work permit renewal applications. This means that a shorter, 180-day extension may not be long enough, and the extension may end before a new work permit card arrives.

However, if you apply to renew your work permit with more than 6 months remaining on your current work permit, USCIS may issue a new work permit whose start date begins before the end date listed on your current work permit. This can happen when USCIS processes a renewal application quickly. If this happens, you will not have a chance to use the full 2 years on your current card before the 2-year period on your new work permit begins. This can be frustrating because applying to renew a work permit takes a lot of time and money, and many people would like to get the maximum use out of each work permit as a result.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if USCIS will process your application very quickly or very slowly. Even though the current average time to process renewal applications is over one year, some applications are still processed quickly.

Given these facts, you should decide if it is more important to you to make sure you avoid any time period without a valid work permit, or if it is more important to get the maximum use out of your current work permit before your new work permit is issued.

My work permit will expire in more than 9 months. Should I apply to renew my work permit before October 26?

Probably not. If your current work permit expires in more than 9 months, you should probably wait to apply for a new work permit until closer to the expiration date.

How do I apply to renew my work permit?

You can find instructions here for renewing your work permit. You can renew your work permit by submitting your work permit application (Form I-765) online or by mail.

  • Online: If you submit your work permit application online, USCIS will receive it immediately, and you will receive an online receipt notice very quickly. This receipt will provide proof of your work permit extension. You can learn more about online work permit applications here.
  • By mail: If you choose to submit your work permit application by mail, you should make sure that USCIS will receive your application in the mail at the correct address before October 26. If you choose to apply by mail instead of online, you should send your work permit application early so the application will arrive on time even if there is a delay (for example, because of bad weather).

Please do not forget the October 26, 2023 deadline to receive a 540-day extension of your current work permit. In the past, ASAP members fought hard to win this 540-day extension policy.

We are disappointed that USCIS will be ending the policy soon. However, we are fighting for USCIS to create a 540-day extension policy again. You can learn more about ASAP’s work permit advocacy here.

Note: This information is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.

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