The ABT Settlement Agreement

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The ABT Settlement Agreement has expired.

Note: Effective Aug. 25, 2020, USCIS implemented new procedures for determining whether an applicant for asylum would be eligible for employment authorization.

The Settlement Agreement in B.H., et al. v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al., No. CV11-2108-RAJ (W.D. Wash.), also known as the ABT Settlement Agreement, as revised, or the “Agreement,” resulted in changes to USCIS and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) processes and procedures that affect how USCIS’s Asylum Division adjudicates Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, and how USCIS’s Service Center Operations Directorate adjudicates Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. These changes generally relate to eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for asylum applicants, and to calculation of the 180-day Asylum EAD Clock. Individuals who are ABT class members are affected by the Agreement.    

The 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock

The 180-day asylum EAD Clock measures the time period during which an asylum application has been pending with the USCIS asylum office and/or EOIR.  USCIS service centers adjudicate the Form I-765 and calculate the 180-day asylum EAD Clock to determine eligibility for employment authorization.  Asylum applicants who applied for asylum on or after January 4, 1995, must wait 150 days before they can file a Form I-765, if the application remains pending.  An asylum applicant is not eligible to receive an EAD until his or her asylum application has been pending for at least 180 days.  This 180-day period, which is commonly referred to as the 180-day asylum EAD Clock, does not include any delays applicants request or cause while their applications are pending with an asylum office or immigration court.   

Examples of delays caused by an asylum applicant include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to appear for fingerprint processing,
  • Failure to appear for an interview with an asylum officer,
  • Failure to appear for a hearing with an immigration judge, and
  • Other types of delays either before an asylum office or an immigration judge

For more information about the 180-day Asylum EAD Clock, see the 180-day EAD Clock Notice and the links below.

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