New EAD Document Effective from October 30th 2011

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced the launch of an enhanced Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a redesigned Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560) with new features to strengthen security and deter fraud. As part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, the state-of-the-art technology incorporated into the new documents will deter counterfeiting, obstruct tampering, and facilitate quick and accurate authentication. USCIS began issuing the new EADs today and will begin using the redesigned certificates on Oct. 30. The agency anticipates that more than 1 million people will receive the new documents over the next year.

The USCIS began issuing the new EAD cards on October 25, 2011, and the agency will replace EADs already in circulation as individuals apply for their renewal or replacement. The new EAD card boasts of certain new features

  • The most notable change is in the placement of the Alien Registration Number. EADs issued prior to October 25, 2011, listed the number beside the notation “A#”on the front of the cards. These numbers will now be listed under the notation “USCIS#” on the front of the card and will no longer have the letter “A” before it.
  • The new EAD will also boast of holographic image on the front of the card and optically variable ink along the top of the card
  • Fine-line artwork and complex multi-layered card components that are difficult to reproduce.

The impact of the redesigned EAD for employers is in that the documents falls in the list of acceptable List A document while submitting an I-9 form, which is proof of citizenship and work eligibility of an applicant. The employer should be aware of the changes brought about in the EAD form and scrutinize those who submit this document along with their Form I-9. The introduction of a new EAD is by no means reason to reject an applicant who submits the old version of the EAD as the new forms are given out to people after October 30th 2011.

The EAD “Card #” should be recorded as the “Document #” under Section 2 of the Form I-9, or, if re-verifying an employee, Section 3 of the Form I-9. The card number is a 13 digit combination of letters and numbers that begins with the abbreviation of the USCIS Service Center where the underlying application that led to the issuance of the card was processed (“EAC,” “SRC,” “WAC,” “MSC,” or “LIN”).

The new features of the EAD are designed to better equip workers, employers and law enforcement officials to recognize the card as definitive proof of authorization to work in the United States. USCIS worked closely with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forensic Document Laboratory to incorporate technology and tactile features in order to deter fraud and facilitate card authentication.

Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Any issues regarding compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations should be addressed through your legal department or outside counsel.

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