Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

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What is an Employment Authorization Document?

An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a document issued by USCIS that allows certain non-U.S. citizens to work legally in the U.S. 

It is commonly referred to as a work permit or Form I-766. 

Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders) may need an EAD to legally work in the U.S.

To obtain an EAD, an eligible individual needs to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with USCIS. 

The USCIS reviews the application and, if approved, issues the EAD, which includes information such as the individual’s name, photograph, and the dates of validity.

It’s important to note that not all non-U.S. citizens require an EAD to work in the United States. 

Certain visa categories, such as H-1B or L-1, may include work authorization as part of the visa approval. 

Additionally, some individuals, like refugees and asylees, may also have the right to work without obtaining a separate EAD. 

How do I get an Employment Authorization Document?

To obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you need to take the following steps:

Step 1. Determine Eligibility:

  • Understand whether you are eligible for an EAD. Certain visa categories such as asylum seekers, F-1 students, and certain adjustment of status applicants may be eligible for employment authorization.
  • See the list of eligible categories below

Step 2. File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization:

  • Obtain the most recent edition of Form I-765 from the official USCIS website
  • Expired editions of Form I-765 will be rejected
  • Some categories are eligible for filing Form I-765 online:
    • (a)(12) – Temporary Protected Status (if you are submitting an initial Form I-821 or you have an approved Form I-821);
    • (c)(3)(A) – F-1 student, pre-completion OPT;
    • (c)(3)(B) – F-1 student, post-completion OPT;
    • (c)(3)(C) – F-1 student, 24-month extension for STEM students (students holding a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics);
    • (c)(8) – Applicants for Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement;
    • (c)(8) – Application for Employment Authorization Based on Pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum or for Withholding of Removal;
    • (c)(11) – Parole;
    • (c)(19) – Temporary Protected Status (You have a pending Form I-821); or
    • (c)(33) – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (You must have a pending or approved Form I-821D in order to file Form I-765).
  • Fill out the form accurately and completely. Sign and date the form in ink
  • USCIS does not accept computer-generated or stamped signatures
  • Fill out and submit Form G-1145 to receive an electronic notification containing USCIS receipt number by text message or email
  • Learn more: Form I-765 Instructions, How to Fill Out

Step 3. Gather Supporting Documents:

  • Include supporting documentation such as copies of passport, U.S. visa (if applicable), government-issued ID (front and back), Form I-94, etc.
  • Full checklist of required documents is provided below

Step 4. Submit the Application:

  • If filing online – submit your application, upload the supporting documents online and pay the filing fee online using a credit or debit card
  • If filing by mail:
    • Prepare the required filing fee, as indicated on the USCIS website 
    • Submit the completed Form I-765 and supporting documents, along with the fee, to the appropriate USCIS address (“Where to File” section)

Step 5. Receive Application Receipt Notice:

  • If filing online – Form I-765 receipt notice will be available in your online USCIS account immediately
  • If filing by mail – after USCIS receives your application, you should receive a receipt notice 2-3 weeks after the submission date. This notice will include a case number that you can use to track online the status of your application.

Step 6. Attend Biometrics Appointment (if scheduled):

  • In most cases, USCIS will schedule biometrics appointment to collect your fingerprints, photographs, and a signature
  • Attending the scheduled biometric appointment is mandatory. Failure to attend it might result in denial of your application

Step 7. Wait for Processing:

  • USCIS will review your application, and processing times vary depending on your category
  • In general, it can take anywhere from 1.5 months to 12 months to receive your EAD. Some categories have longer waiting times (see below)
  • Some categories of Form I-765 applicants are eligible for Premium Processing of 30 calendar days
  • USCIS may issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) during the processing of your application, which can add to the overall processing time. 
  • It’s crucial to respond promptly and thoroughly if you receive an RFE to avoid delays.

Step 8. Receive EAD Card:

  • If your application is approved, you will receive the EAD card by mail. The card will indicate the dates of validity
  • If you never had a Social Security Number (SSN) issued to you previously, you can apply for SSN in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office
  • If you were ever issued a SSN in the past, you can use it with your EAD
  • If your application is denied, you will receive a denial notice explaining the reasons for the denial and appeal process (if available)

Who is eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document?

The following categories are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document:

Eligible applicants

EAD Category

Pending Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) (c)(9) 
H-4 spouse of an H-1B Nonimmigrant (c)(26)
K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen or K-2 Dependent (a)(6)
K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or K-4 Dependent (a)(9)
F-1 student with a Degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) Who is Seeking A 24-Month STEM Extension of Optional Practical Training  (c)(3)(C)
F-1 Student Seeking Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) (c)(3)(A)
F-1 Student Seeking Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) (c)(3)(B)
F-1 Student Who was Offered Off-campus Employment Under the Sponsorship of a Qualifying International Organization (c)(3)(ii)
F-1 Student Seeking Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship (c)(3)(iii)
M-1 Student Seeking Post-Completion Practical Training After Completing Studies (c)(6)
J-2 Spouse or Minor Child of an Exchange Visitor (c)(5)
Pending Applicant for Asylum and Withholding of Removal (c)(8)
Asylee (Granted Asylum) (a)(5)
Refugee (a)(3)
Paroled as a Refugee (a)(4)
Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal (a)(10)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (a)(12) and (c)(19)
Re-Registering for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (a)(12)
A Citizen of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau (a)(8)
Under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) (a)(11)
Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203 Applicant Who is Eligible to Apply for NACARA Relief with USCIS (c)(10)
Dependent of a TECRO E-1 Nonimmigrant (c)(2)
B-1 Nonimmigrant Who is the Personal or Domestic Servant of a Nonimmigrant Employer (c)(17)(i)
B-1 Nonimmigrant Domestic Servant of a U.S. Citizen  (c)(17)(ii)
B-1 Nonimmigrant Employed by a Foreign Airline (c)(17)(iii)
Spouse of an E-1 Treaty Trader, E-2 Treaty Investor, or E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional from Australia (a)(17)
Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee (a)(18)
Spouse of an E-2 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Investor (c)(12)
Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-based Immigrant Petition Facing Compelling Circumstances (c)(35)
Spouse or an Unmarried Child of a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition (c)(36)
V-1, V-2, or V-3 Nonimmigrant (a)(15)
Registry Applicant Based on Continuous Residence Since Jan. 1, 1972 (c)(16)
Physician Applying to Renew Your National Interest Waiver EAD
Legalization Temporary Resident Under INA Sections 245A or 210 (a)(2)
N-8 or N-9 Nonimmigrant (a)(7)
Applicant for Cancellation of Removal (c)(10)
Applicant for Legalization Under INA Section 210 (c)(20)
Applicant for Legalization Under INA Section 245A (c)(22)
Parolee (c)(11)
Granted Deferred Action (c)(14)
Requesting Consideration Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (c)(33)
Under a Final Order of Deportation or Removal, Including Deferral of Removal Under the Convention Against Torture (c)(18)
LIFE Legalization Applicant (c)(24)
T-1 Nonimmigrant (Replacement or renewal) (a)(16)
T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 Nonimmigrant (c)(25)
Approved as a T Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status (c)(9)
U-1 Nonimmigrant (Replacement or Renewal) (a)(19)
U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 Nonimmigrant  (a)(20)
Under U Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status  (c)(9)
Violence Against Women Act Self-Petitioner (Replacement or Renewal) (c)(31)
A-3 or G-5 Nonimmigrant  (c)(14)

How long does it take to get an Employment Authorization Document?

According to the information published on the USCIS Processing Times page, the Form I-765 processing time depends on the applicant’s category and service center:

Category 

Average processing times

Based on pending Form I-485 (c)(9)
  • California Service Center – 5.5 months
  • National Benefits Center – 7.5 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 3.5 months 
  • Texas Service Center – 10 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 9.5 months
F-1 student (c)(3)

Note: F-1 students are eligible for Premium Processing which reduces the EAD processing time to 30 calendar days

  • Potomac Service Center – 3.5 months
H-4 spouse of H-1B (c)(26) – filed with Form I-539
  • California Service Center – 3 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 4 months
  • Texas Service Center – 4.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 3.5 months
H-4 spouse of H-1B (c)(26) – standalone
  • California Service Center – 4.5 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 6 months
  • Texas Service Center – 7 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 4 months
L-2 spouse of L-1 (a)(18)
  • California Service Center – 8 months
  • Texas Service Center – 9.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 30 months
Pending asylum application (c)(8) – renewal and replacement
  • All service centers – 16 months
Pending asylum application (c)(8) – initial application
  • All service centers – 1 month
Refugee (a)(3)
  • Nebraska Service Center – 4 months
Approved asylum application (a)(5)
  • Nebraska Service Center – 5.5 months
  • Texas Service Center – 12 months
Cancellation of removal (c)(10)
  • National Benefits Center – 16.5 months
Based on parole
  • National Benefits Center – 3.5 months
Based on approved, concurrently filed Form I-821D (c)(33) – DACA
  • Nebraska Service Center – 3 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 128 months
TPS for El Salvador (c)(19), (a)(12)
  • Texas Service Center – 9.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 3 months
TPS Haiti Extension (c)(19), (a)(12)
  • California Service Center – 8 months
All other applicants for employment authorization
  • California Service Center – 15.5 months
  • National Benefits Center – 11 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 9 months
  • Potomac Service Center – 13 months
  • Texas Service Center – 3.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 3.5 months

To check the most current processing times for Form I-765:

  • Visit the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times
  • Select “Form I-765” 
  • Select your category 
  • Select your service center (you can find it in the lower left corner of your Form I-765 receipt notice)

Keep in mind that processing times are general estimates, and individual cases may take less or more time to complete.

Additionally, USCIS may issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) during the processing of your application, which can add to the overall processing time. 

It’s crucial to respond promptly and thoroughly if you receive an RFE to avoid delays.

If your case is outside the normal processing time, you place an Outside Normal Processing Time e-Request or request assistance from your local congressman’s office.

Employment Authorization Document filing fee

Filing fees for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization are provided below:

Category

Filing fee

Pending Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) – (c)(9)
  • $0 if filing together with Form I-485 and you paid I-485 fees
  • $0 if filing after Form I-485 was registered and you paid I-485 fees
All other categories 
  • $410
  • F-1 students are eligible for Premium Processing which reduces the processing time to 30 calendar days
  • (c)(35) A beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition and you are facing compelling circumstances;
  • (c)(36) A spouse or unmarried dependent child of a beneficiary of an employment-based immigrant petition who is facing compelling circumstances; or
  • (c)(37) An applicant for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status. This category is not eligible for a fee waiver.
  • $410
  • $85 biometric fee
Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203 Applicants Who Are

Eligible to Apply for NACARA Relief With USCIS–(c)(10)

  • Fee waiver is available 
Exceptions
Replacement (correction) of an employment authorization document due to USCIS error does not require a

new Form I-765

  • $0
Initial TPS applicants under 14 years of age or over 65 years of age
  • $0
Initial EAD application:

  • (a)(3) Refugee
  • (a)(4) Paroled as Refugee
  • (a)(5) Asylee
  • (a)(7) N-8 or N-9 nonimmigrant
  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
  • (a)(10) Granted Withholding of Deportation
  • (a)(16) Victim of Severe Form of Trafficking (T-1 Nonimmigrant)
  • (a)(12) or (c)(19) Temporary Protected Status if you are filing an initial TPS application and you are under 14 years of age or over 65 years of age. All applicants for TPS re-registration who want an EAD must pay the filing fee, unless granted a fee waiver
  • (a)(19) Victim of Qualifying Criminal Activity (U-1 Nonimmigrant)
  • (c)(1), (c)(4), or (c)(7) Dependent of certain foreign government, international organization, or NATO personnel
  • (c)(8) Applicant for Asylum and Withholding of Deportation and Removal (an applicant filing under the special ABC procedures must pay the filing fee)
  • (c)(16) Registry applicant who filed Form I-485 on or after July 30, 2007, and paid the appropriate Form I-485 filing fee
  • (c)(31) VAWA Self-Petitioner
  • $0
If this is a renewal application:

  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
  • (a)(10) Granted Withholding of Deportation
  • (c)(l), (c)(4), or (c)(7) Dependent of certain foreign government, international organization, or NATO personnel
  • (c)(9) or (c)(16) Any current Adjustment of Status or Registry applicant who filed for adjustment of status on or after July 30, 2007, and paid the Form I-485 filing fee
  • $0

You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check or pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

If you pay by check, it must be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

You can use USCIS Fee Calculator to determine the correct amount of the filing fees.

USCIS fees are subject to change, check the latest Form I-765 filing fee on the USCIS website.

Employment Authorization Document checklist of required documents

You must submit photocopies of the following documents with your I-765 application:

Evidence Acceptable documents
Most recent EAD (only if you were ever issued one before)
  • EAD card (front and back)
Government-issued ID with photograph One of the following:

  • Passport (biographic page)
  • U.S. visa
  • National ID (front and back), plus English translation
  • Birth certificate with photo ID
Photographs
  • Two identical passport-style photographs (in color) of the applicant that have been taken recently

Print your name name and A-Number (if any) on the back of the photo

Proof of lawful entry
  • Printout of your electronic Form I-94
Checklist for each Form I-765 category
Pending Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) – (c)(9) 
  • Form I-485 notice (only if filing I-765 after I-485 is registered)
Spouse of an H-1B Nonimmigrant (c)(26)
  • Evidence that either your spouse is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or your spouse received H-1B status based on the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) sections 106(a) and (b);
  • Evidence of your current nonimmigrant status, such as a copy of your Form I-94 showing your admission in (or change of status to) H-4 nonimmigrant status or file this form concurrently filed with Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status (if applicable); and
  • Your marriage certificate, or if not available, other secondary evidence of the marriage.
K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen or K-2 Dependent (a)(6)
  • Evidence of your admission (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document); and
  • A copy of your K visa.
K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or K-4 Dependent (a)(9)
  • Evidence of your most recent admission (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document); and
  • Your Form I-797C, Notice of Action.
Student with a Degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) Who is Seeking A 24-Month STEM Extension of Optional Practical Training (c)(3)(C)
  • Evidence of the degree that is the basis for the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension and is currently listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program List;
  • A copy of your Form I-20 signed by the designated school official (DSO) within 60 days before filing your Form I-765; and
  • Evidence that the institution is currently accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) if you are seeking a STEM OPT extension based on a previously earned STEM degree
Student Seeking Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (c)(3)(A)
  • Evidence of having been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year at a college, university, conservatory, or seminary approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for attendance by F-1 foreign students;
  • All previously used Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) numbers in the Additional Information section of the form;
  • Evidence of any previously authorized Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) and the academic level at which each was authorized; and
  • A copy of your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, signed by the designated school official (DSO).
Student Seeking Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (c)(3)(B)
  • All previously used Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) receipt numbers and any previously authorized Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) and the academic level in which it was authorized in Part 6, Additional Information; and
  • A copy of your Form I-20 signed by the designated school official (DSO) within 30 days before filing your Form I-765.
F-1 Student Who was Offered Off-campus Employment Under the Sponsorship of a Qualifying International Organization (c)(3)(ii)
  • The international organization’s letter of certification that the proposed employment is within the scope of its sponsorship; and
  • A copy of your Form I-20 with the employment page completed by the designated school official (DSO) certifying your eligibility for employment.
F-1 Student Seeking Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship (c)(3)(iii)
  • A copy of your Form I-20 with the employment page completed by the designated school official (DSO) certifying your eligibility for off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship;
  • Evidence you have been in valid F-1 status for one full academic year, are a student in good standing, and are enrolled in a full course of study;
  • Evidence that accepting employment will not interfere with your enrollment in a full course of study;
  • Evidence the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship; and
  • Evidence that on-campus employment is not available or is not sufficient to meet the needs that have arisen due to the unforeseen circumstances.
M-1 Student Seeking Post-Completion Practical Training After Completing Studies (c)(6)
  • A copy of your Form I-20 signed by the designated school official (DSO); and
  • This form concurrently filed with Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status (if applicable), that requests an extension of stay that covers the requested period of post-completion Practical Training and a 30-day departure period.
J-2 Spouse or Minor Child of an Exchange Visitor (c)(5)
  • A copy of your Form DS-2019;
  • Evidence the J-1 principal noncitizen is currently maintaining status;
  • Evidence that any income from this employment authorization will not be used to support the J-1 principal noncitizen;
  • Evidence you are currently maintaining status; and
  • Evidence of all previously authorized periods of J-2 employment (if applicable).
Pending Applicant for Asylum and Withholding of Deportation and Removal (c)(8)
  • Evidence of a lodged or filed Form I-589 with USCIS or EOIR:
    • If filed with USCIS, provide a copy of your USCIS Acknowledgment of Receipt and USCIS Asylum Interview Notice; or 
    • Your Form I-797C application support center appointment notice; 
    • Any other evidence of a filed Form I-589;
    • If lodged with EOIR, provide a legible copy of Form I-589 containing the Received Date stamp and Lodge/Receipt Stamp; or
    • If filed with EOIR, provide acknowledgment you received Form I-589 (such as receipt stamp) or any other available evidence. 
  • If an immigration judge denied your Form I-589, evidence of a timely appeal of the denied asylum application with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
  • If the BIA remanded your Form I-589 to an immigration judge for further adjudication of your underlying asylum claim: 
    • A copy of the BIA decision and order remanding your case to the immigration judge; and 
    • Evidence that your asylum claim remains under review by the immigration judge.
  • If a federal court remanded your asylum claim to the BIA for further action, and your claim is still pending with the BIA: 
    • A copy of the federal court’s remand order. 
  • Proof of arrests and convictions (if applicable).
Asylee (a)(5) (Granted Asylum)
  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, indicating asylee status;
  • A USCIS asylum grant letter;
  • Order signed by immigration judge granting asylum status; or
  • Form I-797, Notice of Action, granting derivative asylum status.
Refugee (a)(3)
  • A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record;
  • A copy of your final notice of eligibility for resettlement (approval letter); or
  • A copy of your Form I-797, Notice of Action, approving derivative refugee status (Form I-730 approval).
Paroled as a Refugee (a)(4)
  • A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
  • Passport, or 
  • Travel document.
Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal (a)(10)
  • Order signed by immigration judge granting withholding of deportation or removal.
Under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (a)(12) and (c)(19)
  • This application concurrently filed with Form I-821 
  • Evidence that USCIS registered or approved your Form I-821;
  • Evidence of your nationality and identity (birth certificate, passport, national ID); and
  • A copy of the order granting TPS with your Form I-765, such as a copy of your Form I-821 that the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) judge or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)approved, if an EOIR immigration judge or the BIA granted TPS and you are requesting your first Employment Authorization Document or are re-registering for the first time.
Re-Registering for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (a)(12)
  • This application concurrently filed with Form I-821;
  • A letter indicating this application is for TPS re-registration; and
  • A copy (front and back) of your last available TPS document (for example, an Employment Authorization Document, Form I-94, a passport, a travel document, or a Form I-797, Notice of Action).
A Citizen of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau (a)(8)
  • Evidence you were admitted as a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau under agreements between the U.S. and the former trust territories.
Under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) (a)(11)
  • Evidence of your identity and nationality (if you are without nationality, submit evidence of your residence in the last country in which you habitually resided); and
  • Statement of your basis for claiming that you are covered by DED, and evidence (if available) to support your claim.
Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203 Applicant Who is Eligible to Apply for NACARA Relief with USCIS (c)(10)
Dependent of a TECRO E-1 Nonimmigrant (c)(2)
  • Certification from the American Institute in Taiwan if you are the spouse or unmarried dependent son or daughter of an E-1 employee of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
B-1 Nonimmigrant Who is the Personal or Domestic Servant of a Nonimmigrant Employer (c)(17)(i)
  • Evidence of your lawful B nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document);
  • Evidence your employer is a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or TN nonimmigrant;
  • Evidence you worked for the employer for at least one year before the employer entered the United States, or your employer regularly employs personal and domestic servants and has done so for a period of years before coming to the United States;
  • Evidence you have either worked for this employer as a personal or domestic servant for at least one year, or evidence you have at least one year of experience as a personal or domestic servant; and
  • Evidence you have a residence abroad that you have no intention of abandoning.
B-1 Nonimmigrant Domestic Servant of a U.S. Citizen (c)(17)(ii)
  • Evidence or your lawful B nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document);
  • Evidence that your employer is a U.S. citizen (unexpired US passport, US birth certificate, naturalization certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad);
  • Evidence your employment has a permanent home abroad or is stationed outside the United States and is temporarily visiting the United States, or evidence that your employer’s current assignment in the United States will not be longer than four years; and
  • Evidence your employer has employed you as a domestic servant abroad for at least six months before your admission to the United States.
B-1 Nonimmigrant Employed by a Foreign Airline (c)(17)(iii)
  • Evidence of your lawful B nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document); and
  • A letter from the airline fully describing your duties and stating your position would entitle you to E nonimmigrant status except for the fact that you are not a national of the same country as the airline, or because there is no treaty of commerce and navigation in effect between the United States and that country.
Spouse of an E-1 Treaty Trader, E-2 Treaty Investor, or E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional from Australia (a)(17)
  • Evidence of your lawful E nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document);
  • Evidence of your spouse’s lawful E nonimmigrant status (for example, copy of your spouse’s Form I-94, passport, or other travel document); and
  • Your marriage certificate, or if not available, other secondary evidence of the marriage.
Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee (a)(18)
  • Evidence of your lawful L nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document);
  • Evidence of your spouse’s lawful L nonimmigrant status (for example, a copy of your spouse’s Form I-94, passport, or other travel document); and
  • Your marriage certificate, or if not available, other secondary evidence of the marriage.
Spouse of an E-2 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Investor (c)(12)
  • Evidence of a legal marriage;
  • Evidence you and your spouse legally terminated any prior marriages (if applicable);
  • Evidence you reside in the CNMI;
  • Evidence your spouse obtained E-2C status;
  • Evidence you obtained E-2C status as a dependent; and
  • A copy of your spouse’s CNMI issued Long-Term Business Certificate or Foreign Investment Certificate.
Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-based Immigrant Petition Facing Compelling Circumstances (c)(35)
  • Proof you are in the United States in E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status;
  • Proof of your approved Form I-140;
  • Evidence you are facing compelling circumstances while you wait for your immigrant visa to become available; and
  • Proof of arrests and convictions (if applicable).
Spouse or an Unmarried Child of a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition (c)(36)
  • Proof of your nonimmigrant status;
  • Proof of relationship to the principal beneficiary of the approved Form I-140 (marriage certificate or birth certificate);
  • Proof that the spouse or parent principal beneficiary was granted employment authorization or has a pending Form I-765 under eligibility category (c)(35); and
  • Proof of arrests and convictions (if applicable).
V-1, V-2, or V-3 Nonimmigrant (a)(15)
  • Evidence of your valid V status (for example, an approval notice, your Form I-94, passport, or this form filed concurrently with your application for V status).
Registry Applicant Based on Continuous Residence Since Jan. 1, 1972 (c)(16)
  • This form filed concurrently with Form I-485, or 
  • Evidence of a pending I-485 (for example, a copy of your Form I-485 receipt notice or biometrics notice).
Physician Applying to Renew Your National Interest Waiver EAD
  • Evidence of your meaningful progress toward completing the national interest waiver obligations; and
  • If you did not work as a national interest waiver physician during any period of the previous year, submit an explanation why and provide a statement of future intent to work as a physician in a qualifying location.
Legalization Temporary Resident Under INA Sections 245A or 210 (a)(2)
  • Evidence that USCIS approved Form I-687; or 
  • Form I-700, Application for Status as a Special Agricultural Worker; or
  • A copy of your Employment Authorization Document showing your temporary resident status.
N-8 or N-9 Nonimmigrant (a)(7)
  • Evidence of your lawful N status (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document).
Applicant for Cancellation of Removal (c)(10)
  • Evidence that EOIR-42A or EOIR-42B is currently pending with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and
  • Evidence you paid the application filing fee.
Applicant for Legalization Under INA Section 210 (c)(20)
  • Evidence your Form I-700, Application for Status as a Temporary Resident Under Section 210 of the INA, is currently pending (for example, a copy of a receipt notice or other evidence).
Applicant for Legalization Under INA Section 245A (c)(22)
  • Evidence your Form I-687, Application for Status as a Temporary Resident Under 245A of the INA, is pending (for example, a copy of a receipt notice or other evidence).
Parolee (c)(11)
  • Evidence you were paroled into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or reasons of significant public benefit (for example, a copy of your Form I-94, passport, or other travel document).

If you were paroled into the United States after establishing a credible fear of persecution or torture under INA 235(b)(1)(A), you are not eligible for either an initial or renewed Employment Authorization Document under the (c)(11) eligibility category. You may still be eligible to apply for work authorization based on the (c)(8) eligibility category if your asylum application has been pending for more than 365 days and you meet the remaining eligibility requirements.

Granted Deferred Action (c)(14)
  • Evidence of a grant of deferred action (for example, a copy of an order, notice or other document); and
  • Proof you have an economic necessity to work (financial information).
Requesting Consideration Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (c)(33)
Under a Final Order of Deportation or Removal, Including Deferral of Removal Under the Convention Against Torture (c)(18)
  • A copy of the Executive Office for Immigration Review immigration judge’s Order of Removal, and
  • Form I-220B, Order of Supervision (if any).
LIFE Legalization Applicant (c)(24)
  • Evidence you were a Catholic Social Services (CSS), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), or Zambrano class member applicant before Oct. 1, 2000; and
  • Evidence your Form I-485 is currently pending (for example, a receipt notice or other evidence).
T-1 Nonimmigrant (a)(16) (Replacement or Renewal)
  • Evidence of your valid T-1 nonimmigrant status.
T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 Nonimmigrant (c)(25)
  • Evidence of your valid T derivative status:
    • A copy of the approval notice for your T nonimmigrant status if you obtained T nonimmigrant status while in the United States, or
    • A copy of your passport with your T nonimmigrant visa if you were admitted to the United States as a T nonimmigrant.
Approved as a T Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status (c)(9)
  • Evidence of your valid T; and
  • This application if filed concurrently with Form I-485, or 
  • Evidence of a pending I-485 (for example, a copy of your Form I-485 receipt notice or biometrics notice).
U-1 Nonimmigrant (a)(19) (Replacement or Renewal)
  • A copy of your passport with your U nonimmigrant visa.
U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 Nonimmigrant (a)(20)
  • Evidence of your valid U derivative status:
    • A copy of the approval notice for your U nonimmigrant status if you obtained U nonimmigrant status while in the United States, or
    • A copy of your passport with your U nonimmigrant visa if you were admitted to the United States as a U nonimmigrant.
Under U Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status (c)(9)
  • Evidence of your valid U status; and
  • This form if filed concurrently with Form I-485, or 
  • Evidence of a pending I-485 (for example, a copy of your Form I-485 receipt notice or biometrics notice).
Violence Against Women Act Self-Petitioner (c)(31) (Replacement or Renewal)
  • Evidence of the principal beneficiary’s approved Form I-360 self-petition.
A-3 or G-5 Nonimmigrant (c)(14)
  • A copy of the civil complaint filed in court;
  • Proof of lawful admission to the United States in A-3 or G-5 status (for example, a copy of your passport with your A-3 or G-5 nonimmigrant visa); and
  • Evidence the civil case is still pending (if requesting renewal).

Employment Authorization Document example

EAD example

An approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD) includes the following information:

  • Full legal name of the cardholder
  • Photograph of the cardholder
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • USCIS registration number (A-number) and USCIS case receipt number
  • Category code indicating the basis for eligibility (e.g., (c)(9) for adjustment of status applicants, (a)(17) for asylum applicants, etc.)
  • Validity Dates:
    • Start and end dates indicating the period during which the individual is authorized to work
  • Card Security Features: Various security features to prevent counterfeiting and ensure the document’s authenticity

Make sure that your personal information on the EAD is correct. 

If the EAD card contains errors, you can file Form I-765 to replace your EAD with the correct information. 

There is no filing fee if you need replacement due to USCIS error.

How long an Employment Authorization Document will be valid for?

The validity of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) varies depending on the individual’s immigration status and the basis for obtaining the EAD. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Asylum Seekers and Refugees:
    • Asylum seekers and refugees are typically granted an initial EAD valid for two years. They may be eligible to renew the EAD if their asylum or refugee status continues.
  • Adjustment of Status Applicants:
    • Individuals applying for adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents may receive an EAD that is valid for 1-2 years. This EAD is often issued as part of the adjustment process, allowing applicants to work while their green card application is pending.
  • Certain Visa Holders:
    • The validity period for an EAD can vary for individuals in different visa categories. For example, spouses of H-1B visa holders (H-4) may receive an EAD valid for the same duration as the H-1B principal’s status. F-1 students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) may receive an EAD for the duration of their approved OPT period.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients:
    • DACA recipients may receive an initial EAD valid for two years. They can apply for renewal every two years as long as the DACA program continues.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Beneficiaries:
    • TPS beneficiaries may receive an EAD with a validity period linked to the designated period of TPS for their country. TPS is temporary, and EAD validity is tied to the TPS designation.
  • Vocational Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT):
    • F-1 students on OPT may receive an EAD for up to 12 months, with an additional 24 months for certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degree holders.

How to renew an Employment Authorization Document

To renew an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), applicants should follow a process similar to the one for obtaining an initial EAD. 

Take the following steps to renew your EAD:

Step 1. Check Eligibility:

  • Determine if you are eligible to renew your EAD
  • Some EAD categories have specific eligibility criteria, and not all categories allow for renewal
  • It’s recommended that you file the renewal application 180 days before the expiration date of your current EAD

Step 2. File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization:

  • Obtain the most recent edition of Form I-765 from the USCIS website
  • Some categories of applicants can file Form I-765 online:
    • (a)(12) – Temporary Protected Status (if you are submitting an initial Form I-821 or you have an approved Form I-821);
    • (c)(3)(A) – F-1 student, pre-completion OPT;
    • (c)(3)(B) – F-1 student, post-completion OPT;
    • (c)(3)(C) – F-1 student, 24-month extension for STEM students (students holding a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics);
    • (c)(8) – Applicants for Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement;
    • (c)(8) – Application for Employment Authorization Based on Pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum or for Withholding of Removal;
    • (c)(11) – Parole;
    • (c)(19) – Temporary Protected Status (You have a pending Form I-821); or
    • (c)(33) – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (You must have a pending or approved Form I-821D in order to file Form I-765).

Step 3. Complete the Form:

  • Fill out Form I-765 accurately and completely
  • Provide all required information, and double-check for accuracy before submission. If a question does not apply to your situation, mark it as “N/A” (not applicable)
  • Sign and date the form in ink
  • Unsigned or undated forms will be rejected by USCIS
  • USCIS does not accept computer-generated or stamped signatures
  • Fill out and submit Form G-1145 to receive an electronic notification (text message or email) containing USCIS receipt number 

Step 4. Gather Supporting Documents:

  • Include supporting documentation:
    • Proof of your continued eligibility for EAD renewal (for example, proof that Form I-589 is still pending for asylum seekers or H-1B continued status for H-4 spouses, etc.)
    • Copy of your current EAD (front and back)
    • Passport
    • I-94
    • Government-issued ID (front and back)
    • Two US passport-style photographs taken recently
    • See the full checklist of required documents above

Step 5. Pay the Filing Fee:

  • Pay the required filing fee, as indicated on the USCIS website
  • Some individuals may be eligible for fee waivers

Step 6. Submit the Renewal Application:

  • Online filers can submit the application online and pay the filing fee with a credit card
  • If submitting by mail, send the completed Form I-765, supporting documents, and the filing fee (if applicable) to the appropriate USCIS address (“Where to File”)
  • It’s recommended that you send the application via express mail with a tracking number
  • Make a copy of the completed application for your records

Step 7. Receipt notice:

  • If you submitted Form G-1145 with your application, 1 week after the submission you will receive a text message or email from USCIS with your Form I-765 receipt notice. Check your spam folder.
  • USCIS will mail the receipt notice 2-3 weeks after the submission date
  • You can track the status of your application online by entering the Form I-765 receipt number 

Step 8. Attend Biometrics Appointment (if required):

  • If a biometrics appointment is scheduled, you must attend it to provide fingerprints, photographs, and a signature
  • Biometrics appointments are typically scheduled 1-2 months after the registration
  • Failure to attend the appointment might result in application denial
  • In some cases USCIS can reuse the previously collected biometric information

Step 9. USCIS Review:

  • After USCIS receives your application, it will be reviewed to determine whether issuance of a Request for Evidence (RFE) is necessary 
  • If you received an RFE, it’s crucial to respond promptly and thoroughly to avoid delays
  • If your renewal application is approved, you will receive the new EAD card by mail. The card will indicate the new dates of validity
  • If your renewal application is denied, you will receive a denial notice explaining the reasons for the denial

Related Links:

I-765 Form – How to Get a Work Permit and Social Security Number (SSN)

Form I-765 Instructions, How to Fill Out