US Work Authorization

If you are a non-US citizen seeking employment in the United States, it is crucial to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally work in the country. In this article, we explain who is eligible to apply, the process for obtaining an EAD, and whether you can seek employment while waiting for approval.

How does the EAD work?

The EAD is a document that demonstrates your eligibility to work in the United States to potential employers. Before beginning any job, you must have a valid work permit card.

Who can apply for an EAD?

You must apply for an EAD if:

  • You require proof of employment authorization, and you are already authorized to work in the United States based on your immigration status or circumstances (e.g. as an asylee, refugee, or U Nonimmigrant).
  • You need to apply for a work permit (i.e. employment authorization), for example, if you have a Form I-485 pending, are seeking asylum or withholding of removal with a Form I-589 pending, or hold a nonimmigrant status that permits you to be in the United States but not work without first obtaining employment authorization from USCIS (such as an F-1 or M-1 student visa).

What are the costs of obtaining an EAD?

The fees for an EAD application are:

  • Filing fee: $410 (though some cases may be exempt).
  • Biometric services: $85.

To apply for an EAD, you must submit Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, following the instructions and providing all necessary documentation and evidence.

Can I work in the USA without an EAD permit?

Employers require that you present your EAD as well as a Social Security number (SSN) at the time of filling out Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. Working without the proper permits can lead to severe consequences, such as deportation, a 3 to 10-year ban on re-entry to the United States, and difficulties in processing visas, changing immigration status, and receiving other benefits.



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