Renew Your Work Permit at Least Six Months Before it Expires!

October 5, 2021

ASAP has heard from some members that their work permit renewal applications are taking a long time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve. Unlike initial work permit applications, there is unfortunately no time limit for the government to process renewal applications. Some members have told us that they have had to wait up to 10 months to receive their work permit renewal, which can put them at risk of losing their jobs.

What should ASAP members do?

Submit your renewal application at least six months before your current work permit expires! You are allowed to submit your renewal application any time before the expiration date of your current work permit, for a work permit based on asylum.

When you submit a renewal application, USCIS should send you a receipt notice (Form I-797C) to let you know they have received the application. This receipt notice automatically extends your work permit by 180 days (about 6 months) past its expiration date. You can show your receipt notice to your employer to let them know your renewal application is pending, and you can continue to work legally for an additional 180 days after the date your work permit expires. For more information, read this government webpage.

So, if you submit your renewal application at least 6 months before your work permit expires and you receive a receipt notice that automatically extends your work permit for 6 months after your work permit expires, you will have at least 12 total months for the government to process your work permit renewal application. This will help you avoid a gap in your work permit being valid.

How do I renew my work permit?

The renewal process is similar to how you applied for your first work permit, with a few small differences. Follow these instructions on how to apply for a work permit as an ASAP member. But for a renewal application, please make sure to also:

  • Check box 1.c. on the Form I-765
  • Include a copy of your current work permit card (front and back)
  • Include payment of the $410 fee, or an application for a fee waiver

Remember to also include your ASAP membership card!

What fees should I pay when renewing my work permit?

There are two fees for work permit renewal applications: a filing fee ($410), and a biometrics fee ($85). ASAP members only have to pay the $410 filing fee, NOT the $85 biometrics fee.

To show you are an ASAP member and avoid paying the $85 biometrics fee, you should include a copy of your ASAP membership card in your renewal application.

If you are unable to pay the $410 filing fee, you may apply for a fee waiver. You can read more about how to apply for a fee waiver on the USCIS website. You may wish to include evidence regarding your financial situation (for example, tax return, pay stubs, or evidence showing that you or your family members are receiving public assistance such as WIC or Food Stamps).

However, if your fee waiver request is denied, USCIS will reject and return your renewal application to you. You will have to file it again with payment of the $410 fee or with another fee waiver request with more evidence. For this reason, if you are planning to request a fee waiver, you may wish to apply for renewal even earlier so that you have time to resubmit if your fee waiver request is denied.

What can I do if I already submitted a renewal application and I have been waiting a long time?

We are sorry you have not received your new work permit yet. If you have been waiting more than 6 months after submitting your renewal application, please read about possible steps you can take.

What can be done to stop these delays?

ASAP is taking action to fight back! We are exploring ways to advocate for members suffering as a result of these delays and will keep you updated. Read more about how ASAP members are speaking out against renewal delays.

Please also see general information about work permits for ASAP members. If you are not an ASAP member, learn about becoming an ASAP member.

Note: This information is for asylum seekers and does not substitute for legal advice from a lawyer.

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