Being an eligible nonimmigrant, if you intend to work in the country temporarily, you may file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to obtain a work permit. Individuals who are permitted to work for particular U.S. employers under other visa categories, like the H-1B, L, O, or P visas need not get an EAD. Green card holders are allowed to live and work permanently in the U.S. so they too need not apply for an EAD.
Certain categories of nonimmigrants are permitted to work in the United States. Such nonimmigrants need to apply for and obtain employment authorization documents (EAD) before they can start working.
I-765 Application Package
You can send the completed Form I-765 along with the filing fee and supporting documents to the USCIS.
The filing fee is $410. Not all categories of applicants will have to pay the fee. You can check the I-765 filing instructions to see if you are required to pay the filing fee or not.
Certain applicants will have to pay an additional $85 as a biometrics fee along with the filing fee:
- (c)(33) Requesting consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA);
- (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.
If you are unable to pay the fee, you may apply for a fee waiver by including Form I-912 (Request for Fee Waiver) in your application package.
Please note: If you are filing as a (c)(33) or (c)(37), you are not eligible for a fee waiver.
You can pay the filing fee with a personal or cashier’s check or money order.
The supporting documents that you need to include in your application package will differ based on the category you are filing under. Generally, the required supporting documents will include:
- A copy of your Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record (front and back), or a printout of your electronic Form I-94
- A copy of your passport or other travel documents
- A copy of your last EAD (if applicable) or a copy of a government-issued identity document
- Two passport-style photographs
- Form G-28 (if you are represented by an attorney or accredited representative)
Renewal and Replacement
You may file Form I-765 to apply for a renewal of your EAD and also for a replacement in case your EAD is lost, stolen or destroyed.
You may apply for a replacement if there is an error on your EAD. If the error was made by the USCIS, you need not file a new form or pay the filing fee. If the error was not made by the USCIS, you will have to file a new Form I-765 and pay the filing fee.
Filing Form I-765 Online
Individuals can file Form I-765 online if they are filing under one of these categories:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students;
- (a)(12) – Temporary Protected Status; or
- (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).
What to do after filing Form I-765?
You need to make sure that your application is complete and signed, and that your application package contains all the supporting documents and the fee (if applicable). If you wish to receive notifications by email, you will have to include Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance in your package.
Depending on where you file your EAD application and under which category, it can take anywhere from two months to 13 months to process the application.
Once USCIS approves your application, you will be issued an employment authorization card. You cannot work until you have received the authorization also known as a work permit.