What is an Employment Authorization Document?

What is an Employment Authorization Document?

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If you are a noncitizen who wants to work in the United States, you may need to get Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD is a card that proves that you are authorized to work in the United States for a specific period. It is also known as Form I-766 or a work permit.

What is The Difference Between Visa, Green Card and EAD?

  • A visa allows you to enter and stay in the US for a certain purpose, such as studying, visiting, touring, or working.
  • A green card grants you permanent residency and the right to work in the US indefinitely.
  • An EAD, on the other hand, gives you temporary permission to work in the US while you are in a certain immigration status or situation.

In this article, we will explain what an EAD is and what you need to know about EAD.

Requirements for Getting an EAD

Not everyone needs a work permit to work in the United States. Some noncitizens are authorized without EAD to work in the States because of their immigration status or circumstances.

For example, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), asylees, refugees, and certain nonimmigrant visa holders (such as H-1B, L-1B, O, or P) do not need a work permit document to work in the US. They can use their green card or visa as evidence of their work permit.

Want to get a Green Card with US employment? Learn how.

However, some noncitizens are required to apply for an authorization document if they want to work in the United States.

For example, if you have a pending Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), a pending Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal), or a nonimmigrant status that does not allow you to work without permission from USCIS (such as an M1 or F1 student), you need to do the filing before you can start working.

Check out the types of Employment Visa Options in the US.

There are many categories of noncitizens who are eligible for an employment authorization document. Some of the common categories include:

Some applicants may also qualify for a permit based on compelling circumstances. These are circumstances that prevent the applicants from maintaining their current nonimmigrant status or may prevent them from obtaining other immigration benefits. Applicants may include:

  • victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, or other crimes
  • applicants facing extreme hardship due to unforeseen events
  • applicants eligible for humanitarian programs

How to Apply for an EAD?

To apply for an employment authorization document, you need to file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with USCIS. You can file online or by mail, depending on your eligibility category.

Application Documents

When you file Form I-765, you need to submit some supporting documents along with your application fee. The exact documents you need may vary depending on your eligibility category, but generally, they include:

  • A copy of your passport or any other official government-issued ID
  • A copy of your current visa or other immigration document (such as your Form I-94)
  • A copy of your previous work permit (if any)
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Any other documents that show your eligibility for a work permit (such as your Form I-485 receipt notice, your asylum approval notice, your TPS registration notice, etc.)

You can find the specific document requirements for each eligibility category on the USCIS website or on the Form I-765 instructions.

How Long Does It Take to Receive an EAD?

The processing time for an employment card may vary depending on several factors, such as your eligibility category, the USCIS office handling your case, and the volume of applications received by USCIS.

You can check the current processing times by selecting the form number (I-765) and the service center that is processing your application.

Generally, it may take anywhere from 2 to 12 months to receive your permit after you file your application. However, some applicants may experience longer delays due to various reasons, such as background checks, requests for additional evidence, or administrative errors.

If your EAD application is pending for more than 90 days, you can contact USCIS to inquire about the status of your case.

You can also request expedited processing of your permit filing if you meet certain criteria, such as severe financial loss, humanitarian reasons, or emergencies.

You can find more information on how to request expedited processing on the USCIS website.

How to Renew Your EAD?

If your EAD is about to expire and you are still eligible for it, you can apply for a renewal of the employment authorization document.

You need to file a new Form I-765 with the same documents and fee as your initial application. You should file your renewal application at least 180 days before your current document expires to avoid any gaps in your permit filing.

Some applicants may be eligible for an automatic extension of their permit for up to 180 days while their renewal application is pending. This applies to certain categories of applicants who file their renewal application before their current EAD expires and who meet other requirements.

You can find the list of categories eligible for an automatic extension here.

If you are eligible for an automatic extension, you can use your expired work permit along with your Form I-765 receipt notice as evidence of your employment card during the extension period. However, some employers may not be familiar with this rule and may require you to present a valid EAD to continue working. In that case, consult an immigration attorney for assistance.

How to Replace Your EAD?

If your EAD is lost, stolen, damaged, or contains incorrect information, you can apply for a replacement of your USCIS employment authorization document.

  • You must file a new Form I-765 with the same documents and fee as your initial application.
  • You should also include a copy of your original EAD. (if available)
  • Explain why you need a replacement.

You will also need to provide the document number on your previous or current employment card. The document number on an employment authorization card is a 13-digit number that starts with three alphabets and is followed by 10 numerical digits, and it locates at the front of the authorization document.

If your employment card is lost or stolen, you should also report it to the local police and obtain a police report. This will help you prevent any identity theft or fraud using your card.

Get Professional Help on the Way to Employment Card

We at Grape Law Firm, have a team of experienced and dedicated immigration lawyers who can help you with all your immigration needs. Whether you need a work permit card, a visa, a green card, or any other immigration benefit, we can guide you effortlessly through the process and ensure that your application is done completely and successfully.

You can message us anytime through our website or schedule a video consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between an EAD and a Visa?

A visa is a document that allows you to enter and stay in the United States for a specific purpose and duration. A visa does not necessarily authorize you to work in the US.

An EAD is a document that proves that you are authorized to work in the States for a specific time period. An Employment Card does not grant you any immigration status or allow you to enter or stay in the US. You need to have a valid visa or another immigration status to be eligible for a work permit document.

Want to learn more about employment visa, check out.

What Is The Difference Between an EAD and a Green Card?

A green card is a document that grants you permanent residency in the United States. It allows you to live and work in the US indefinitely without any restrictions or limitations. A green card also gives you certain rights and benefits, such as applying for citizenship, sponsoring family members, traveling abroad without losing your status, etc.

An EAD is a document that gives you temporary permission to work in the US while you are in a certain immigration status or situation. An Employment Card does not grant you any permanent residency or citizenship rights. The employment card also has an expiration date and needs to be renewed periodically.

Who Issues The Employment Authorization Document?

The employment authorization document EAD is issued by USCIS. USCIS is responsible for processing applications for immigration benefits.

How Much Is an Employment Authorization Document?

The filing fee for the permit is $410 as of February 2023. However, some applicants may be exempt from paying the fee or eligible for a fee waiver based on their eligibility category or financial situation.

Is It Hard To Get An EAD?

The difficulty of getting the document depends on several factors, such as your eligibility category, the availability of visas or other immigration benefits, the processing time of USCIS, and the complexity of your situation.


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