Great news – many work permits extended for 540 days again!

Last updated May 3, 2024

Good news! Starting on April 8, 2024, asylum seekers and some other immigrants can continue to use their work permits for 540 days after the original expiration date! This is an increase from the previous 180-day extensions. To receive the 540-day extension, you must apply to renew your work permit before the expiration date written on your work permit card.

Thank you to the thousands of ASAP members who worked together to make this change possible!

How do I get the 540-day extension as an asylum seeker?

To get the 540-day extension, you should apply to renew your work permit before the expiration date on your current work permit card. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your work permit renewal on or before the expiration date, your current work permit will be automatically extended.

If you already applied to renew your work permit before April 8, 2024, you will receive the 540-day extension as long as USCIS received your work permit renewal application on or before the expiration date on your current card. This is true even if your receipt notice says that your work permit is extended for only 180 days. According to USCIS, you can show your employer your receipt notice and this USCIS webpage as proof of the 540-day extension.

If you apply to renew your work permit on or after April 8, 2024, and before your current card expires, USCIS should send you a receipt notice saying that your work permit is automatically extended for 540 days.

Learn how to submit a work permit renewal application here.

How long can I work after the original expiration date on my work permit card?

If USCIS receives your work permit renewal application on or before the expiration date, your current work permit is automatically extended for 540 days past the expiration date, or until you get your new work permit.

For example, if your work permit has a written expiration date of July 1, 2024, USCIS must receive an application to renew your work permit on or before July 1, 2024.

Then, you can google “540 days after July 1, 2024” to learn that you can continue using your work permit until December 23, 2025, or until you receive your new work permit. Or you can use the calculator on this USCIS webpage for employers (scroll to the bottom and click “yes”) to see your new expiration date.

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

You can show your employer your receipt notice and this USCIS webpage to help them understand the 540-day extension. The USCIS web page is also available in other languages—you can find translation links near the top of the page.

  • If you applied for a work permit on or before October 26, 2023, your receipt notice should already include information about the previous 540-day extension that ASAP members won in the past.
  • If you applied for a work permit between October 27, 2023 and April 7, 2024, your receipt notice probably says that your extension is only 180 days. However, according to USCIS, you can still use this receipt notice as proof that your work permit is extended for 540 days. You can show your employer your receipt notice and this USCIS webpage. We know that this is confusing. ASAP has told USCIS that they should issue new receipts that say 540 days to people in this situation. We will update this page as we learn more information.
  • If you apply for a work permit between April 8, 2024 and September 30, 2025, your receipt notice should include information about the new 540-day extension.

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

Your boss or employer can use the calculator on this USCIS webpage for employers to see your new expiration date.

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 should 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 extension apply to me?

Maybe. The 540-day extension applies to several types of work permits, but unfortunately it does not apply to all types. For example, the extension does apply to people who applied for work permit renewals based on:

  • a pending asylum application
  • winning asylum
  • winning withholding of removal
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • a pending application for permanent residence based on family or employment

You can visit this government webpage to see a complete list of work permit categories that are eligible for the extension.

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

Probably! Most states should accept this extension if you show your work permit card and your receipt notice when you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can also show them this USCIS webpage which explains the extension.

Each U.S. state has different rules about driver’s licenses for immigrants, and ASAP members sometimes report that they have different experiences even at different DMV offices in the same state. Learn more about driver’s licenses here.

I heard that there are now 5-year work permits. How is this news related?

The 540-day automatic extension applies to your existing work permit. If you receive the extension, your work permit is still valid for 540 days after the expiration date. Later, if your renewal is approved, USCIS should send you a new work permit that is valid for 5 years.

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 [email protected] with questions. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

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! You can read more about ASAP’s work permit advocacy here.

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

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