Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document

Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document

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Last updated: April 1, 2024.

What is Form I-766?

  • Form I-766, also known as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is a document that authorizes non-U.S. citizens to work legally in the United States
  • It is commonly referred to as a work permit.
  • Form I-766 issued by USCIS
  • Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, such as certain foreign students, spouses of work visa holders, asylum seekers and other individuals with temporary protected status, may apply for Form I-766t if they are eligible to work in the U.S. for a specific period of time
  • This form allows U.S. employers to verify the identity and work authorization of the individual, and it is crucial for individuals who are not U.S. citizens to possess a valid EAD if they wish to work legally in the country
  • Form I-765 must be filed with the USCIS, and once approved, the individual will receive the Employment Authorization Document as evidence of their eligibility to work in the U.S.

What is the difference between Form I-766 and I-765?

Differences between Form I-766 and I-765 include:

Form I-766

Form I-765

  • Form I-766 is the actual Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) that is issued to eligible individuals after their Form I-765 application is approved
  • The EAD, commonly referred to as a work permit, is a physical card that provides evidence of the individual’s authorization to work legally in the U.S. for a specified period
  • Form I-765 is the application form that individuals use to request employment authorization in the U.S.
  • It is a form used by various categories of non-U.S. citizens who are eligible to work in the U.S.

What agency issues Form I-766?

  • Form I-766, also known as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • USCIS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • USCIS is responsible for processing employment authorization for non-U.S. citizens

What is the I-766 document number?

  • The I-766 document number refers to the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) number
  • The document number is a unique identifier assigned to each individual EAD card and is typically located on the back of the card (in the left upper corner)
  • This number can be used for employment verification

Form I-766 Document Number

Who is the issuing authority for Form I-766?

  • The issuing authority for Form I-766, also known as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  •  USCIS is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is responsible for processing immigration and naturalization applications, including those related to employment authorization
  • When an individual applies for an EAD using Form I-765, USCIS reviews the application, and if approved, issues the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) as proof of the individual’s authorization to work legally in the U.S.

Form I-766 processing time

It can take anywhere from 1 month to 16 months for Form I-766 to be processed by USCIS:

Form I-766 category

Average processing time

Based on being an H-4 spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant – (c)(26)
  • California Service Center – 3 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 4 months
  • Texas Service Center – 4.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 3.5 months
Based on being an L-2 spouse of an L-1 nonimmigrant – (a)(18)
  • California Service Center – 8 months
  • Texas Service Center – 9.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 30 months
Based on being admitted as a refugee – (a)(3)
  • Nebraska Service Center – 4 months
Based on an approved asylum application – (a)(5)
  • Nebraska Service Center – 5.5 months
  • Texas Service Center – 12 months
Application for Suspension of Deportation/Sec. 244/NACARA/Cancel of Removal – (c)(10)
  • National Benefits Center – 16.5 months
Based on parole
  • National Benefits Center – 3.5 months
Alien with Final Order of Deportation Under an OSUP – (c)(18)
  • National Benefits Center – 4.5 months
Based on being an H-4 spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant – standalone, not filed with Form I-639, (c)(26)
  • California Service Center – 4.5 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 6 months
  • Texas Service Center – 7 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 4 months
Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student – (c)(3)
  • Potomac Service Center – 3.5 months
Based on an approved, concurrently filed Form I-821D – (c)(33)
  • Nebraska Service Center – less than 3 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 128 months
Based on a pending asylum application (renewal/replacement) – (c)(8)
  • All service centers – 16 months
Based on a pending asylum application (initial application) – (c)(8)
  • All service centers – 1 month
Based on a pending Form I-485 adjustment of application – (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
Based on TPS for El Salvador – (c)(9), (a)(12)
  • Texas Service Center – 11.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 3.5 months
Haiti extension – (c)(9), (a)(12)
  • California Service Center – 8 months
All other applications
  • California Service Center – 15.5 months

Source: USCIS Processing Times

To check the most current processing times for Form I-766:

  • Visit the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times
  • Select “Form I-765” 
  • Select your category and service center (your USCIS service center is printed in the lower right corner of 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.

Learn more: USCIS Expedite Request

Form I-766 EAD codes

Form I-765 Category

Description

(a)(2) Lawful temporary resident
(a)(3) Refugee
(a)(4) Paroled refugee
(a)(5) Asylee
(a)(6) Fiancé(e) (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant)
(a)(7) N-8 or N-9
(a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
(a)(9) K-3 or K-4
(a)(10) Withholding of deportation or removal granted
(a)(11) Deferred Enforced Departure
(a)(12) Temporary Protected Status granted
(a)(13) Family Unity Program (Section 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990)
(a)(14) LIFE Legalization (Section 1504 of the Legal Immigrant Family Equity (LIFE) Act Amendments)
(a)(15) V visa nonimmigrant
(a)(16) T-1 nonimmigrant
(a)(17) Spouse of an E nonimmigrant
(a)(18) Spouse of an L nonimmigrant
(a)(19) U-1 nonimmigrant
(a)(20) U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant
(c)(1) Spouse/dependent of A-1 or A-2 visa nonimmigrant
(c)(2) Spouse/dependent of Coordination Council for North American Affairs (E-1)/ Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)
(c)(3)(A) F-1 student, pre-completion Optional Practical Training
(c)(3)(B) F-1 student, post-completion Optional Practical Training
(c)(3)(C) F-1 student, 24-month extension for STEM students
(c)(3)(ii) F-1 student, off-campus employment sponsored by a qualifying international organization
(c)(3)(iii) F-1 student, off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship
(c)(4) Spouse/dependent of G-1, G-3, or G-4
(c)(5) J-2 spouse or child of J-1 exchange visitor
(c)(6) M-1 student, Practical Training
(c)(7) Dependent of NATO-1 through NATO-6
(c)(8) Asylum application pending filed on/after Jan. 4, 1995
(c)(8) Asylum application pending filed before Jan. 4, 1995 and applicant is not in exclusion/deportation proceedings
(c)(8) Asylum application pending filed before Jan. 4, 1995 and applicant is in exclusion/deportation proceedings
(c)(8) Asylum application under ABC Agreement
(c)(9) Pending adjustment of status under Section 245 of the Act
(c)(10) Suspension of deportation applicants (filed before April 1, 1997) Cancellation of Removal applicants Cancellation applicants under NACARA
(c)(11) Public Interest parolee
(c)(12) Spouse of an E-2 CNMI investor
(c)(14) Deferred action
(c)(15) Not in use
(c)(16) Creation of record (adjustment based on continuous residence since Jan. 1, 1972)
(c)(17)(i) B-1 domestic servant of certain nonimmigrants
(c)(17)(ii) B-1 domestic servant of certain U.S. citizens who are in the United States on a temporary basis.
(c)(17)(iii) Certain B-1 nonimmigrant employees of a foreign airline
(c)(18) Order of supervision
(c)(19) Certain pending TPS applicants whom USCIS has determined are prima facie eligible for TPS and who may then receive an EAD as a ”temporary treatment benefit” under 8 C.F.R. 244.10(a).
(c)(20) Section 210 legalization (pending I-700)
(c)(21) S visa nonimmigrant
(c)(22) Section 245A legalization (pending I-687)
(c)(23) Irish peace process (Q-2)
(c)(24) LIFE legalization
(c)(25) T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 nonimmigrant
(c)(26) Spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant
(c)(31) VAWA self-petitioners with an approved Form I-360
(c)(33) Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
(c)(35) Principal beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition facing compelling circumstances
(c)(36) Spouse or unmarried child of a principal beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition facing compelling circumstances

Form I-765 fee

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

I-765 Filing Category

Paper Filing Fee

Online Filing Fee

General Filing $520 $470
If you filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with a fee on or after April 1, 2024, and your Form I-485 is still pending.   $260 $260
If you are filing under the special ABC procedures for an initial Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for category (c)(8) as an asylum applicant with a pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. $520 $470
If you are requesting an EAD under category (a)(12) or (c)(19) as a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicant. $520 $470
If you are filing under category (c)(33), on Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. $520 $470
If you are filing for replacement EAD because the card we issued to you contains incorrect information due to our error. $0 N/A
If you are filing for an initial EAD under category (c)(8), an asylum applicant with a pending Form I-589 including derivatives, and you are not filing under the special ABC procedures. $0 N/A
If you are filing for an initial Employment Authorization Document (EAD) under one of the following categories:

  • (a)(3) Refugee;
  • (a)(4) Paroled as refugee;
  • (a)(5) Asylee;
  • (a)(7) N-8 (Parent of alien classed as SK3) or N-9 nonimmigrant (Child of N-8) nonimmigrants;
  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  • (a)(10) Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal;
  • (a)(16) Victim of severe form of trafficking (T-1);
  • (a)(19) U-1 nonimmigrant;
  • (a)(20) U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(1), (c)(4), or (c)(7) Dependent of certain foreign government, international organization, or NATO personnel;
  • (c)(2) Taiwanese dependents of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) E-1 employees;
  • (c)(8) All other Applicant for Asylum and Withholding of Deportation or Removal including derivatives with pending Form I-589;
  • (c)(9) or (c)(16) Current Adjustment of Status or Registry applicant who filed for adjustment of status on or after July 30, 2007, and before April 1, 2024, and who paid the Form I-485 filing fee;
  • (c)(9) Special Immigrant Juvenile seeking to adjust status;
  • (c)(9) T nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 245(l);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Iraqi or Afghan national;
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA);
  • (c)(9) U nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under INA section 245(m);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children applying for benefits under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children of lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens applying for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under INA section 240A(b)(2);
  • (c)(11) Special Parole processes for Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI);
  • (c)(11) Children and family members affected by family separations at the United States-Mexico border by DHS between the dates of January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021 (Ms. L. v. ICE, 18-cv-00428 (S.D. Cal.);
  • (c)(11) Special Parole processes for certain Afghan nationals paroled into the United States (I-765 filings through Sept. 30, 2024);
  • (c)(11) Special Parole processes for Afghan nationals who were paroled into the United States:
    • Between July 31, 2021, and December 16, 2022;
    • After September 30, 2022, and are spouses or children of Afghan nationals paroled between July 31, 2021, and December 16, 2022; or
    • After September 30, 2023, and are parents or legal guardians of Afghan unaccompanied children paroled between July 31, 2021, and December 16, 2022;
  • (c)(11) Special Parole processes for Ukrainian nationals paroled into the United States:
    • Between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023;
    • After September 30, 2023, and are spouses or children of Ukrainian nationals paroled between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023;
    • After September 30, 2023, and are parents, legal guardians, or primary caregivers of Ukrainian unaccompanied children paroled between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023;
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a petitioner seeking U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant status;
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a Special Immigrant Juvenile;
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a VAWA self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(25) T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(31) Principal beneficiaries or derivative children of an approved VAWA self-petition;
  • Current or former U.S. armed forces service members; or
  • Submitted through USCIS-recognized state or local government legal services clinics hosted through June 30, 2024 for eligible parolees and those filing Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.
$0 N/A
If you are filing for a renewal EAD under one of the following categories:

  • (a)(3) Refugee;
  • (a)(4) Paroled as refugee;
  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  • (a)(10) Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal;
  • (a)(16) Victim of severe form of trafficking (T-1 nonimmigrant);
  • (a)(19) U-1 nonimmigrant;
  • (a)(20) U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(1), (c)(4), or (c)(7) Dependent of certain foreign government, international organization, or NATO personnel;
  • (c)(9) or (c)(16) Current Adjustment of Status or Registry applicant who filed for adjustment of status on or after July 30, 2007, and before April 1, 2024, and who paid the Form I-485 filing fee;
  • (c)(9) Special Immigrant Juvenile seeking to adjust status;
  • (c)(9) T nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under INA section 245(l);
  • (c)(9) U nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under INA section 245(m);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Iraqi or Afghan national;
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children applying for benefits under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen applying for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under INA section 240A(b)(2);
  • (c)(11) Special Parole Process for Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) Afghan nationals who were paroled into the United States or who had an approved Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, on or before May 26, 2023 (applies to Form I-765 filings through July 31, 2024);
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a petitioner for U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant status;
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Form I-360 self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a Special Immigrant Juvenile;
  • (c)(25) T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(31) Principal beneficiaries or derivative children of an approved VAWA self-petition; or
  • Current or former U.S. armed forces service members.
$0 N/A
If you are requesting a replacement EAD because your previously issued card was lost, stolen, or damaged, but has not expired, and you are filing under one of the following categories:

  • (a)(3) Refugee;
  • (a)(4) Paroled as refugee;
  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  • (a)(10) Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal;
  • (a)(16) Victim of severe form of trafficking (T-1 nonimmigrant);
  • (a)(19) U-1 nonimmigrant;
  • (a)(20) U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(1), (c)(4), or (c)(7) Dependent of certain foreign government, international organization, or NATO personnel;
  • (c)(9) or (c)(16) Current Adjustment of Status or Registry applicant who filed for adjustment of status on or after July 30, 2007, and before April 1, 2024, and you paid the Form I-485 filing fee;
  • (c)(9) Special Immigrant Juvenile seeking to adjust status;
  • (c)(9) T nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under INA section 245(l);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Iraqi or Afghan national;
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA);
  • (c)(9) U nonimmigrant seeking to adjust status under INA section 245(m);
  • (c)(9) Persons seeking adjustment of status as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Form I-360 self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children applying for benefits under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA);
  • (c)(10) Abused spouses and children of lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens applying for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under INA section 240A(b)(2);
  • (c)(11) Special Parole processes for Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) Afghan nationals paroled into the United States (Form I-765 filings through Sept. 30, 2024);
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a petitioner for U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant status;
  • (c)(14) Deferred action if filed by a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Form I-360 self-petitioner (including derivatives);
  • (c)(25) T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 nonimmigrant;
  • (c)(31) Principal beneficiaries or derivative children of an approved VAWA self-petition; or
  • Current or former U.S. armed forces service members.
$0 N/A

Certain applicants may be eligible for a Fee Waiver. Learn more: Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

Learn More:

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

Form I-765 Instructions, How to Apply for EAD

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)