Ask the Experts: Expiring Work Permits

Question: What is the appropriate procedure when a newly hired employee’s employment authorization document (EAD, or “work permit”) for his Form I-9 expires two months after his date of hire? Do we require him to provide new documentation upon expiration?

Answer: Employers have a legal duty to ensure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. Upon expiration in two months, you must require that he provide proof that he is still eligible to work and document it on the Form I-9.

The EAD is the proof that he must show you, as the employer, that he is allowed to work in the United States. EADs are typically granted for a one-year period. If he is still eligible for work authorization and has an EAD which is going to expire in two months, then he may file for a renewal by submitting a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) no more than 120 days before the original EAD expires. You can encourage him to file for renewal right away to avoid any delay in employment. However, you cannot refuse to accept the current EAD because it has a future expiration date. You must accept the EAD if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to him. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice in violation of the antidiscrimination provision of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Finally, if an employee does not have a renewed EAD prior to the expiration then he or she must immediately cease working (and receiving compensation) upon expiration and until receipt of a renewed EAD.