Work Authorization for Refugees

This is from a recent announcement by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding Refugee’s authorization to work and the I-94 document.

Employers and refugees should be aware that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has automated Form I-94 processing for refugees. The stamped paper form will no longer be provided to a refugee upon arrival, except in limited circumstances. A refugee can obtain a copy of their I-94 (record of admission) from Get I-94 Information.

For Employers:

Refugees are authorized to work because of their immigration status. Just as in the case of any employee, a refugee may choose to present any applicable document from the Lists of Acceptable Documents (I-9 Form). DHS provides refugees electronic and paper Forms I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) that evidence their status and employment authorization (since they are employment authorized incident to status), as well as Forms I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The new electronic Form I-94 for refugees does not include an admission stamp but provides the class of admission as “RE” and an admit until date as “D/S.” If a refugee presents a Form I-94 computer-generated printout for Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, the employer must accept it as a receipt establishing both employment authorization and identity for 90 days. No later than at the end of the 90-day receipt period, the refugee must present an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or a combination of a List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card.

For Refugees:

When completing Section 1 of Form I-9 with a computer-generated Form I-94, refugees should check “alien authorized to work until” and may write “N/A” in the space provided. Record the “Admission (I-94) Record Number” from your Form I-94 printout as the “Form I-94 Admission Number.” Next enter your foreign passport number and country of issuance in the “Foreign Passport Number” and “Country of Issuance” spaces. If you entered the US without a foreign passport enter “N/A” in these spaces of Section 1.

For more information about I-94 Automation, please visit this webpage.