Refugees to Receive Work Permits Faster Under New USCIS Process

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a streamlined process to deliver Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) quicker to refugees arriving in the United States. This initiative significantly reduces wait times for EADs, which are essential documents for refugees to legally work in the country.

Previously, obtaining an EAD involved a paper-based application process leading to delays. Under the new system, USCIS will automatically generate EAD applications for refugees upon their admission, expediting processing and delivery.

“This new process shortens the wait time for an EAD to approximately 30 days instead of several months,” stated USCIS in a press release. “All individuals admitted into the United States as refugees on or after December 10, 2023, will receive EADs pursuant to this new process.”

The streamlined process also facilitates faster issuance of Social Security cards. USCIS will electronically transmit necessary information to the Social Security Administration, allowing for quicker assignment of Social Security numbers to refugees.

“USCIS recognizes that documents such as an EAD and Social Security card are critical to a newly arrived refugee’s ability to integrate into the United States,” the press release continued. “This new process is the result of coordination across the U.S. government to support the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and refugee integration.”

This initiative is part of USCIS’s commitment to modernize its procedures and enhance efficiency. It follows a successful trial period before its nationwide launch on December 10, 2023.

This expedited process applies only to refugees admitted on or after December 10, 2023, and not to those entering through the following-to-join program based on approved Form I-730 petitions. Refugees seeking replacement or renewal EADs will still need to submit a standard Form I-765 application.