All You Have to Know About Applying for Employment Authorization and Document (EAD) from USCIS.

Immigration Reads Jul 02, 2018

Excerpt —

Asking Employment Authorization must be one of the most straightforward application processes with USCIS, and one can do that without the help of an expensive attorney. The only hard part is writing that check to the tune of more than four hundred dollars.

Introduction —

In the USA, all employers expected, not mandated, to validate and verify an individual's employment eligibility to work - regardless of person citizenship or national origin.

For all immigrants, irrespective of their stay is temporary or permanent, obtaining an employment authorization document (EAD) is one way to prove your eligibility. Even if an individual's immigration status authorizes him/her to work, they are still eligible to seek EAD for verification purposes.

To request employment authorization, you have to file Form I-795 with USCIS and provide all eligibility proving documents.

Who are eligible to seek employment authorization (EAD) in the USA?

There is an exhaustive list of candidates eligible to seek permission for work in the United States of America. The list includes people from coming from different background and countries -

  1. students who satisfy specific criteria.
  2. An Immigrant status allows them to work.
  3. NonImmigrant, who are required to seek authorization before starting work in the USA
  4. Asylum seekers and Refugees; By law status protected non-citizens like DACA kids, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) individuals.
  5. People who are coming from certain countries like Treaty countries and countries designated with special status, etc
  6. Recently, the Obama administration has added Spouse of an H1B Nonimmigrant to this eligibility list.

What documents are needed?

Initial document verification required for processing Form I-765 based on your eligibility criteria, based on that other than providing evidence of your presence in this country and history, you may be asked to provide additional documents to support your case.

Generally, having your latest and history of I-94 records and past immigration approved petition copies requested as supporting documents. And, in case if your eligibility based on the principal applicant's current immigration status, then collecting their paper to justify the application must be necessary.

Here is the non-exhaustive list for your reference

  1. A copy of the latest I-94 for the applicant signing this application.
  2. A copy of government-issued individual identification documents
  3. Profile page of your passport with picture and details
  4. Birth certificate with photo I.D.
  5. A previous visa obtained from a foreign consulate
  6. Any national I.D. document with a photo.
  7. In case of renewal and replacement, A copy of a recent EAD document.
  8. Two photographs, specs should match the specification outlined by USCIS.
  9. Applicant proof of legal status, providing any one of them is enough.
  10. Proof of your legal presence in this country using the latest I-94, which should prove a type of visa (L1, L2, F1, H4, etc.) for this stay.
  11. A copy of the recently approved petition (I-797), which should validate your legal presence in this country
  12. Document to prove work authorization eligibility


  • Evidence showing your enrollment into education at least one full year.
  • In the case of reauthorization, previous "Curricular Practical Training (CPT)" or "Optional Practical Training (OPT)" and relevant details associated with that approval.
  • Certificate of Eligibility endorsed by the designated school official (DSO) using I-20

Spouse of Nonimmigrants — H4EAD

  • A copy of approved I-140
  • In the case of, principal applicants stay beyond six-year made eligible based on the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21)
  1. Principal applicants copy of passports pages, latest I-94, and latest I-797 approved petition.
  2. If principal applicant eligibility based on pending Permanent Labour Certification Application, then it must prove that PERM filed more than 365 days before the six-year max out the date of the principal applicant.
  3. A copy of I-797 and receipt notice of I-140
  4. And another possible situation is the principal applicant has pending I-140, then they can provide a copy of Labour approval notice (if eligible, EB1 not required to get Labour certification), I-797 and receipt notice of I-140

There are several other categories under which one may seek employment authorization, which may need to provide a different set of documents and pre-approved forms to start the I-765.

You can check this extensive checklist from USCIS per category.

How to prepare and submit an application?

Application is pretty straight forward; only a few parts of the entire application one has to fill depends on individuals scenarios.

Part 1: Reason for applying

Whether or not seeking initial, replacement or renewal authorization.

Part 2: Information about you

You have to provide accurate details about yourself, which should match exactly with your supporting documents.

Having your latest passport and I-94 printout will come in handy to fill out most of the information in this section.

Start from Point 27 - Information about eligibility criteria.

As I said, this one form designed to facilitate the entire request for authorization from a multitude of eligible individuals; you must be careful in selecting the fields relevant to your category.

Having this form completed accurately up to this point is all that it takes to ensure obtaining your authorization to work in the USA.

Part 3: Declaration and Signature

If you are filling this form out on your own, ticking couple check boxes and punching your signature will pretty much finish the hard work of preparing this application.

One may have to go beyond this section only when application prepared other than the applicant, then information about interpreters or preparers information in Part 4 and Part 5.

Finally, Where to file

Sending this application to the processing center is another thing that depends on your eligibility criteria and individual situation. So, check this list provided by USCIS and submit your Form and supporting document to the given address.

USCIS will reject any incomplete application and without adequate supporting document, most importantly, without applicant signature.


How much is that visa costs?

You might end up paying $410 for application processing. And additionally, if your eligibility criteria required biometric, then you would have to add $85 more, and the total will come to $495.

Mode of accepted payment — money order, personal check, or cashier's check. And you have to make all of this payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

How to receive E-Notification from USCIS on your application package sent?

In case, you are filing I-765 with one of the USCIS lockbox facility. Then, You are eligible to fill out Form G-1145 and expect to receive a notification from USCIS when your application is accepted.

A must needed relief for the smallest additional effort, instead of guessing in the darkness until your receipt notice to arrive.

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