Great news – many work permits extended for 540 days!

Last updated on May 19, 2022

Great news! Starting on May 4, 2022, many asylum seekers can still use their work permits for 540 days after the original expiration date! But you must apply to renew your work permit “on time” to receive this extension.

Beginning on May 4, 2022, USCIS will extend many asylum seekers’ work permits for up to 540 days after the expiration date written on your work permit card. This is an increase from the 180-day auto-extension that was previously in place. You can read more about this change in the USCIS handbook for employers. Thank you to the thousands of ASAP members who worked together to make this new policy possible!

What does it mean to submit my work permit renewal application “on time”? 

To get the 540-day extension, you must apply to renew your work permit before the original expiration date written on your current work permit card. USCIS must receive your renewal application on or before that expiration date. For example, if your work permit has a written expiration date of July 1, 2022, USCIS must receive an application to renew your work permit on or before July 1, 2022.

How long can I work after the original expiration date that is written on my current work permit? 

540 days. If USCIS receives your work permit renewal application on time, your current work permit is automatically extended for 540 days past the original expiration date, or until your new work permit is issued. For example, if your work permit has a written expiration date of July 1, 2022, and USCIS receives your renewal application before July 1, 2022, your current work permit is automatically extended from July 1, 2022 to December 23, 2023, or until your new work permit is issued, whichever comes first. This means you can continue to use your current work permit card to work legally until December 23, 2023, or until USCIS issues your new work permit card.

I applied for my work permit renewal before May 4, 2022. Does the 540-day extension apply to my work permit? 

Yes. If you applied to renew your work permit on time and before May 4, 2022, the 540-day extension applies to you as long as your renewal application is still pending with USCIS.

Can the 540-day extension apply even if my previous 180-day extension has already expired? 

Yes. If you applied to renew your work permit on time and before May 4, 2022, the 540-day extension applies to you even if your 180-day extension has already expired. You can continue to use your current work permit card to work for up to 540 days after the expiration date on your work permit card or until your new work permit is issued, whichever comes first.

I am planning to apply to renew my work permit on or after May 4, 2022. Does the 540-day extension still apply to me? 

Yes. If you apply to renew your work permit, the 540-day extension will apply to you if USCIS receives your renewal application on time and before October 26, 2023.

Can the 540-day extension apply even if my receipt notice says the extension is only 180 days? 

Yes!

  • If you applied to renew your work permit on time and before May 4, 2022, your receipt notice will say that your work permit is automatically extended for 180 days. However, it is now automatically extended to 540 days. You will not receive a new receipt notice unless you request it.

If you would like to request a new receipt notice that says 540 days, you can email lockboxsupport@uscis.dhs.gov. In the subject line of the email, you should write “Requesting New I-765 Receipt Notice.” In the email, you should include your name, your A Number, your mailing address, and the receipt number for your renewal work permit application (Form I-765). You must send this email within 6 months of receiving your original receipt notice.

  • If you applied to renew your work permit on time and between May 4 and June 2, 2022, USCIS most likely sent you a receipt that said there was still a 180-day extension, not 540 days. After ASAP members spoke out about this problem, USCIS started sending corrected receipt notices to immigrants who had received the incorrect information.
  • If you apply to renew your work permit on time and after June 2, 2022, you should receive a receipt notice that correctly says your work permit has a 540-day extension.

How can I show my boss that my work permit has been automatically extended for 540 days? 

These two USCIS web pages explain that work permits for asylum seekers now qualify for automatic 540-day extensions: handbook for employers and information for employers and employees. You can show these web pages to your boss to help them understand the new work permit extension policy. The second web page is also available in other languages—scroll to the bottom of the page to find translation links.

If your boss needs additional information, you can show them your I-797C receipt notice. You should have received this document from the government after submitting your work permit renewal application. You can see an example of an I-797C receipt notice here.

If you applied to renew your work permit on time and before May 4, 2022, your receipt notice will say that your work permit is automatically extended for 180 days. However, it is now automatically extended for 540 days. You should still be able to use your receipt notice that says 180 days as proof of your automatic extension.

However, if you would like to request a new receipt notice that says 540 days, you can email lockboxsupport@uscis.dhs.gov. In the subject line of the email, you should write “Requesting New I-765 Receipt Notice.” In the email, you should include your name, your A Number, your mailing address, and the receipt number for your renewal work permit application (Form I-765). You must do this within 6 months of receiving your original receipt notice.

What if my boss is confused or has more questions about my work permit extension?

If your boss or employer has questions about your work permit extension, they can call this government phone number for employers, and a government official will answer their questions: 1-800-255-8155.

If you have questions about your work permit extension, you can also call a government number for employees: 1-800-255-7688.

Both phone numbers can receive calls in English and Spanish. The phone numbers are operated by a government office called the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

My work permit application is not based on asylum. Does the 540-day extension apply to all types of work permits? 

No. The 540-day extension applies to several types of work permits, but it does not apply to all types. For example, the 540-day extension does apply to work permits based on a pending asylum application, based on a successful asylum application, and based on Temporary Protected Status. However, it does not apply to many other types. You can visit this page to see a complete list of work permit categories that are eligible for the 540-day extension: https://www.uscis.gov/eadautoextend.

Can I use this extension to renew my driver’s license?

Maybe. Each state has different rules about driver’s licenses for immigrants. We are learning more about this issue and hope to share more information in the future. In the meantime, you can try to visit the website of or call the government office that issues driver’s licenses in your state.

I’m still confused and have more questions about this policy. What can I do? 

If you are an ASAP member, you can email our staff at info@asylumadvocacy.org with questions. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible, but we are currently receiving many member questions and may need multiple days to respond.

Thank you to all of the ASAP members who fought for this change!

Thousands of ASAP members have told us that government delays and work permits are your two biggest issues of concern. We are so grateful to every member who raised this issue, and who took action to solve this problem. Thanks to you all, we were able to change government policy so that more asylum seekers, asylees, and other immigrants can work in the United States without interruption!

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