Have you been waiting longer than expected to receive your renewed employment authorization document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?
You're not alone. Some people who applied for their work permits last year (2016) are still waiting, according to USCIS's online report of processing times.
In fact, USCIS is so backed up with EAD renewal applications that it has taken steps to protect applicants from a gap in their official permission to work, by issuing a blanket renewal.
Here's how it works.
First, you need to have properly filed for a renewal EAD before, not after, your current EAD expired.
Second, you need to be genuinely eligible for a blanket renewal. This means that you applied for renewal in a category that USCIS has listed as eligible for an automatic 180-day extension (see the list of categories on the USCIS website).
This extension and automatic renewal applies to any applicant who submitted a Form I-765 renewal applications before, on, or after the USCIS announcement date of January 17, 2017--in other words, until further notice from USCIS.
It's still a good idea to keep track of USCIS's progress on your application, which you can do using its "Case Status Online" page. And if you haven't received a decision on your renewal I-765 when other people who applied to the same USCIS office already have, consult an immigration attorney or a nonprofit serving immigrants.