With the recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement that President Obama's immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will soon end, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer accept initial DACA applications and will stop accepting DACA renewal applications on October 5, 2017.
It's important to note that although DACA is ending, many DACA recipients will still be able to renew their current employment authorization document (EAD) and will be legally permitted to accept employment well into 2018 or 2019.
Immigrants who still have a valid DACA employment authorization document (EAD) might wonder what to do if they accidentally lose their card before it expires. This article provides information about replacing a lost or stolen work permit card during DACA's twilight period.
What Should I Do If I Lose My DACA Work Permit?
You do not lose your work authorization simply because your EAD is lost or stolen. Hopefully, you made a photocopy of your card (or your employer or school has a copy) to prove that you remain eligible to work.
Additionally, your DACA approval notice from USCIS is sufficient proof to show immigration and other authorities that you have DACA status and should be protected from deportation during the two-year authorization period.
Whether or not you should apply for a replacement work permit card depends how much time you have remaining in DACA status. Timing is key!
Submitting an Application for Replacement Work Permit Will Not Extend Your DACA Status or Work Authorization
Be aware that applying for a replacement work permit will not extend your DACA status or the period of work authorization that you were granted.
For example, if your EAD is due to expire in June 2018, and you lose your EAD in April 2018, it is not worth it to apply for a replacement card, since it will most likely take longer than two months to process a replacement work permit request. Also, if you are already employed, you do not need to inform your employer that you lost your card. It should already have your work permit and length of authorized employment on file.
In this situation, paying an additional $495 for a replacement EAD does not make much sense.
You Can File a New Form I-765 Application to Replace Your Work Permit
If there is still a lengthy period of time between your length of work authorization and the time you lose the card, it may be worthwhile to apply for a replacement for your peace of mind, especially if you expect to find new employment during this time.
The normal processing time for a replacement EAD is approximately three months. You can go to the USCIS Case Processing Times website to get a more accurate estimate of wait times. So if your EAD does not expire until April 2019 and you lose your card in December 2017, it would definitely make sense to request a replacement work permit.
You can apply for a replacement card by filling out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Make sure that you check the box indicating that it is a request for a replacement of a lost EAD and include information about how it was lost or stolen so that the USCIS official adjudicating your application does not mistake it for an untimely DACA work authorization renewal application.