Certain asylum applicants can request employment authorization online

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on January 23, 2023, that certain asylum applicants may file their applications for employment authorization online [see announcement]. This policy applies to asylum applicants who are seeking employment authorization under one of the two following categories:

Employment authorization category (c)(8) for Pending Asylum and Withholding of Removal Applicants; and
Applications for Pending Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement.

Most asylum applicants seeking employment authorization are covered by 8 CFR 274.12(c)(8), which provides for the possibility of employment authorization for individuals with long-pending asylum applications. Asylum applicants whose applications remain pending more than 150 days after filing are eligible to apply for employment authorization. The USCIS may grant employment authorization in its discretion. The filing date is the date on which the USCIS receives a properly filed Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. The USCIS indicates the filing date, which begins the 150-day clock, on the receipt notice for the Form I-589.

Asylum applicants covered by 8 CFR 274.12(c)(8) must use the Form I-765 to apply for employment authorization. In order to file the Form I-765 online, the applicant must create a USCIS online account if he or she does not have one. Making an account is free of cost.

Please note that while certain asylum applicants may file the Form I-765 online, other categories of individuals seeking employment authorization may be subject to different filing rules. Individuals in other employment authorization categories should consult the USCIS rules for their specific category before filing the Form I-765. The USCIS makes clear that if an individual in an employment authorization category for which online filing of the Form I-765 is not available tries to file online, the USCIS will deny the application wthout refunding the fee.