U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule on June 26, 2020, “to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization document.” The rule, effective August 25, 2020, does not alter asylum eligibility criteria, the agency said.

The rule prevents those who, absent good cause, entered the United States without authorization from obtaining employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. Additionally, the rule defines new bars and denials for employment authorization, such as for certain criminal behavior; extends the wait time before an asylum applicant can apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365 calendar days; limits the maximum employment authorization validity period to two years; and automatically terminates work authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

This final rule follows on the heels of USCIS’s final rule to eliminate the 30-day timeframe for processing asylum applicants’ employment authorization documents, effective August 21, 2020.

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