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How to Obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
US Immigration11 min read

How to Obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Did you know that approximately 1.8 million individuals in the United States possess an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)? This powerful document grants temporary work authorization to certain non-U.S. citizens, opening doors to countless professional opportunities. Understanding the process of obtaining an EAD is crucial for individuals seeking employment in the United States. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to obtaining an EAD, highlighting its importance and the multitude of benefits it offers.

Importance of Obtaining an EAD: Securing an Employment Authorization Document holds immense significance for non-U.S. citizens looking to work legally in the United States. Here’s why understanding the process is vital:

  1. Legal Work Authorization: An EAD serves as proof of eligibility to work in the United States for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It is essential to possess this document to comply with U.S. immigration laws and regulations and to avoid any legal repercussions related to unauthorized employment.
  2. Expanded Employment Opportunities: With an EAD, individuals gain access to a wider range of employment opportunities. It allows them to apply for jobs across various industries and sectors, helping them pursue their professional goals and contribute to the U.S. workforce.
  3. Enhanced Job Security: Having an EAD provides a sense of job security, as employers are more inclined to hire individuals with proper work authorization. It eliminates concerns about potential issues related to employment eligibility and ensures a smoother hiring process.
  4. Financial Stability and Independence: Obtaining an EAD allows individuals to earn a lawful income, which is crucial for their financial stability and independence. It enables them to support themselves and their families, pursue higher education, and contribute to their local communities.
  5. Pathway to Permanent Residency: For individuals seeking to become permanent residents or citizens of the United States, possessing an EAD can be a stepping stone in the immigration process. It may open doors to other avenues, such as family-based or employment-based immigration, leading to long-term residency or citizenship.

In this article, we will also cover multiple topics:

  • Employment Authorization Documents
  • EAD Application Requirements
  • The EAD Application Process
  • EAD Interview
  • EAD Renewal and Extensions

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) play a crucial role in enabling non-U.S. citizens to pursue employment opportunities in the United States. These documents grant temporary work authorization, allowing individuals to legally work and contribute to the U.S. economy. In this part, we will explore the significance of EADs, their role in the employment landscape, and the opportunities they offer to non-U.S. citizens seeking to build their careers in the United States.

What is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is an essential document issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that grants temporary work authorization to eligible non-U.S. citizens in the United States. It serves as proof of legal employment eligibility and allows individuals to work and earn a lawful income in the country. An EAD is an integral part of the U.S. employment context, providing opportunities for foreign nationals to contribute to the workforce and pursue their professional aspirations.

Eligibility for an EAD

How to get Employment authorization document? To obtain an EAD, individuals must meet specific criteria and requirements set forth by USCIS. Here’s an overview of the eligibility factors:

Visa Categories

Certain non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for an EAD based on their visa categories, such as:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) in the process of obtaining a green card (Form I-765, Category C9).
  • Temporary workers under specific employment-based visas (Form I-765, Category A12).
  • International students with valid F-1 student visas engaging in Optional Practical Training (OPT) (Form I-765, Category C3).

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Individuals who have applied for asylum or have been granted refugee status may also be eligible for an EAD (Form I-765, Category C8).

Deferred Action

Certain individuals who have received Deferred Action status may qualify for an EAD (Form I-765, Category C33).

EAD Application Requirements

In the pursuit of employment opportunities in the United States, understanding the process of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is crucial for non-U.S. citizens. This document grants temporary work authorization and serves as proof of eligibility to work legally in the country. Now, we will guide you through the requirements for an EAD application, including the necessary supporting documents, application forms, and associated filing fees.

Required Supporting Documents

When applying for an EAD, it is essential to gather and submit the necessary supporting documents. Here is a checklist of commonly required documents:

Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization

Complete and submit Form I-765, accurately providing all the required information, such as personal details, immigration status, and eligibility category. This form serves as the primary application for the EAD.

Proof of Identity

Submit a copy of your valid passport, birth certificate, or other government-issued identification documents that establish your identity.

Immigration Documentation

Include copies of your visa, I-94 arrival/departure record, Form I-797 Approval Notice, or any other relevant immigration documents proving your legal status in the United States.

Supporting Documentation

Depending on your eligibility category, provide additional supporting documents. Here is an Employment authorization document example, if you are applying based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, include a copy of your marriage certificate. If you are an F-1 student applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT), include your Form I-20, OPT recommendation letter, and academic transcripts.

Application Forms and Filing Fees

The main application form for an EAD is Form I-765. However, the specific eligibility category for your EAD will determine if you need to submit additional forms. Some common forms associated with EAD applications include:

  • Form I-765WS: Worksheet used to determine economic need for certain categories.
  • Form G-1145: Optional form to receive electronic notifications about your EAD application.

Filing fees for the EAD application are subject to change, so it is important to consult the USCIS website or the specific form instructions for the most up-to-date information.

The EAD Application Process

For non-U.S. citizens seeking employment in the United States, obtaining an Employment Authorization Document application is crucial. This document grants temporary work authorization and allows individuals to legally work and contribute to the U.S. economy. In this Part, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the EAD application process, including identifying the appropriate category, preparing and submitting documents, and understanding the USCIS filing and processing procedures.

Identifying the Appropriate EAD Category

The EAD application process begins with identifying the appropriate EAD category based on your immigration status and eligibility. Common EAD categories include:

  1. Adjustment of Status Applicants: Individuals who have applied for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident may be eligible for an EAD.
  2. Asylum Seekers and Refugees: Asylum seekers and refugees can apply for an EAD to seek employment while their asylum or refugee status is pending.
  3. Spouses of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents: Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can apply for an EAD based on their qualifying marriage.
  4. Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students: F-1 students may apply for an EAD to engage in OPT after completing their studies.

Document Preparation and Submission

Accurate completion of application forms and submission of the required documents are crucial for a successful EAD application. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Application Forms: Complete the relevant application form, typically Form I-765. Ensure that you provide accurate and up-to-date information, including your personal details, immigration status, and the specific EAD category you are applying under.
  2. Supporting Documents: Gather and submit the necessary supporting documents, such as copies of your passport, visa, I-94 arrival/departure record, employment offer letter, and any other documents specific to your EAD category. Accurately completing the forms and including the required supporting documents will help avoid delays or potential rejection.

USCIS Filing and Processing

Once you have completed the application and gathered the necessary documents, it’s time to file the EAD application with USCIS.

Here’s what to expect:

  1. Filing the Application: Submit your application package, including the completed form, supporting documents, and the required filing fee. Follow the specific filing instructions provided by USCIS, which may include mailing the package to a designated USCIS address or submitting it online through the USCIS website.
  2. Processing Timelines: The processing time for EAD applications varies, and it’s important to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information. Generally, Employment authorization document processing time can range from a few weeks to several months. Delays can occur due to various factors, such as high application volumes or additional requests for evidence.

EAD Interview

As part of the process of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), some individuals may be required to attend an EAD interview. This interview serves as an opportunity for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to gather additional information and verify eligibility for the EAD.

Understanding the EAD Interview Process

Under certain circumstances, USCIS may require applicants to attend an EAD interview. Some reasons for an EAD interview include complex cases, additional background checks, or further verification of eligibility. The interview aims to gather more information and assess the applicant’s qualifications for the EAD. During the interview, an USCIS officer may ask questions regarding employment history, qualifications, immigration status, and the purpose of the EAD.

Preparing for the EAD Interview

To ensure a successful EAD interview, it is crucial to be well-prepared. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

Review Application Materials

Thoroughly review your EAD application materials, including the forms and supporting documents you submitted. Familiarize yourself with the information you provided to ensure consistency during the interview.

Practice Potential Questions

Prepare for potential interview questions related to your employment history, qualifications, and immigration status. Practice answering these questions concisely and accurately to demonstrate your eligibility and intentions.

Gather Supporting Documents

Bring all relevant supporting documents to the interview. This may include your passport, visa, I-94 arrival/departure record, employment offer letter, educational transcripts, or any other documents that support your eligibility for the EAD.

Dress Professionally and Be Punctual

Present yourself professionally for the interview by dressing appropriately. Arrive early to the interview location to allow ample time for security checks and check-in procedures.

Stay Calm and Confident

During the interview, remain calm and composed. Listen attentively to the questions, take a moment to gather your thoughts before responding, and provide honest and accurate answers.

EAD Renewal and Employment Authorization Document Extension

Once you have obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), it’s essential to understand the process of renewal and extensions to ensure uninterrupted work authorization. We will explore the importance of EAD renewal, discuss the necessary steps for renewal, and provide guidance on filing for EAD extensions.

Understanding EAD Expiration and Renewal

An EAD has a specific validity period, typically granted for one or two years. It’s crucial to be aware of the expiration date on your EAD to avoid any gaps in work authorization. Renewing your EAD ensures that you maintain your eligibility to work legally in the United States. As the expiration date approaches, it’s important to initiate the renewal process to avoid any disruption in your employment.

To renew your EAD, you need to follow a similar application process as when you initially obtained it. You will need to submit a new Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with any required supporting Employment authorization card document number. It’s recommended to file for renewal at least 120 days before your current EAD expires to allow sufficient time for processing.

Filing for EAD Extensions

In some cases, you may be eligible for an EAD extension if you continue to meet the necessary criteria. An EAD extension allows you to extend your work authorization status beyond the expiration date of your current EAD. The process for filing an extension is similar to the renewal process, where you will need to submit a new Form I-765 along with supporting documents.


Obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a crucial step for non-U.S. citizens seeking work authorization in the United States. By following the outlined process and ensuring the accuracy of your application, you can secure the Employment Authorization Document Number (EAD) that enables you to legally work and pursue your professional goals. Stay informed about the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal process to maintain continuous work authorization. Remember to keep track of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) number and processing times, and plan your application accordingly. With the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in hand, you can confidently pursue your career aspirations and contribute to the American workforce.

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