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Refugees to Receive Work Permits in Just 30 Days Under New USCIS Process

Mar 13, 2024

Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (U.S. Work Permit)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new streamlined work authorization process for refugees in the U.S. Refugees will now have to wait only 30 days to receive their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) after being admitted to the country. This significantly reduces wait time for work authorization (down from several months), so refugees can begin working in the U.S. soon after arriving. 

Under the new system, as soon as a refugee enters the U.S., USCIS will digitally generate Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) for them. Once approved, refugees will typically receive their EAD within one to two weeks by mail. Additionally, USCIS will now electronically provide the Social Security Administration with the necessary information to assign Social Security numbers and send Social Security cards to refugees so they can begin working.

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All eligible refugees admitted into the country on or after December 10, 2023, will receive their EADs and Social Security cards based on this new process.

In the U.S., refugees have the legal right to work upon arrival. Previously, they had to go through a time-consuming paper-based application to obtain EADs. The new fully automated process eliminates the need for refugees to apply for their own EADs, leading to quicker processing of Form I-765 and faster delivery of EADs after approval. 

Immigration advocates have praised the updated guidelines, as work authorization and Social Security information are critical for newly-arrived refugees to begin their lives in the U.S. USCIS says the update is part of the agency’s commitment to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience by streamlining and digitizing the immigration process.

Boundless Tip

 Learn more about the work permit process in Boundless’ guide.

Boundless helps you build a tailored visa plan for every step of the process, from forms to your immigration interview.