Sensible Change: Employment Authorization Cards Now Valid for Five Years

Positive immigration news often feels hard to come by, but a recent change by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides crucial help for employment-based immigration. In a pivotal change, the validity period of Employment Authorization Cards for many Green Card applicants is moving from two years to five years.

Previously, individuals legally residing in the US and nearing the final stages of their Green Card application faced daunting challenges due to the limited two-year validity of these cards. This often left applicants in a precarious position, as the adjustment of status process typically takes more than the previous two-year period, often leading to a lapse in their legal ability to work in the US.

Recognizing this critical issue, the USCIS extended the validity of Employment Authorization Cards to five years in the third quarter of 2023, a move that aims to streamline the process and alleviate the pressures faced by applicants.

Five-Year Validity for Employment Authorization Cards

The previous two-year validity period for Employment Authorization Cards often fell short of covering the duration required for processing an adjustment of status application. This mismatch not only caused undue stress for applicants but also posed operational challenges for employers reliant on immigrant labor.

The extension to a five-year validity period marks a significant improvement, offering stability to both employers and employees. Employers can now rely on a more consistent workforce, while employees are able to work without the looming pressure of imminent Employment Authorization Card expiration. Not only does this change improve circumstances for businesses and their employees, however, but it also provides relief for a government that’s struggling with extensive immigration backlogs. Fewer individuals will be applying for renewal of the two-year employment authorization cards which means more time and resources spent elsewhere.

Foreseeing Further Changes to the Green Card System

This recent update may signal the beginning of more comprehensive reforms in the Green Card application process. In recent years, there have been discussions among lawmakers about enabling Green Card applicants to initiate their adjustment of status application earlier in the process.

Currently, applicants must wait until they reach the front of the application queue, which for some, like Indian Nationals, can take over 10 years. Using Indian Nationals as an example, this would necessitate THREE H-1 visa renewals during the decade-long processing.

These proposed changes, if revived, would significantly reduce these burdens, allowing applicants to leverage the extended validity of Employment Authorization Cards more effectively. Although these potential reforms remain speculative for now, they represent a positive direction toward reducing backlogs, safeguarding the status of immigrant workers, and optimizing governmental processes.

Choose the Right Business Immigration Path with Valvo & Associates

Understanding the evolving landscape of U.S. immigration laws requires a knowledgeable and proactive legal team. At Valvo & Associates, we remain vigilant about the latest developments in immigration policies, ensuring that we can guide businesses and their employees in making informed decisions about securing and maintaining their legal status in the U.S. Contact us for sound legal guidance for businesses or employees navigating the U.S. immigration system.


By Brandon Valvo