EAD Card

EAD Card

An EAD, i.e., an Employment Authorization Document, is a document that proves that a person is authorized to work in the United States. All employers are supposed to ensure that all their employees are authorized to work in the United States by ensuring they have all the valid forms of documents. With this card, an employee is permitted to work in the United States for a specific period. In this article, we will understand the basics of an EAD card and how can you renew this card. We will also touch on the basics of what a GC EAD card is and how to apply for it.

EAD Card

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An Employment Authorization Card is a work permit that lets a person work in the United States for a specific period. The EAD card is required by the people who have an immigrant status, such as asylees or refugees. This card is not required by those who have a lawful permanent residence in the United States. For such people, the Green Card itself acts as a work permit card. Additionally, this card is not required by those who have a nonimmigrant visa that allows them to work for a specific employer, such as an H-1B visa or an L-1B visa.

The EAD card is issued by the USCIS, and it is known as Firm I-766. The card contains basic information of the person such as the Name, DOB, Country of birth, Validity and Expiry date, Gender, Category of the card, and Card Number along with the Photograph and fingerprint of the person. Here are the following categories of the EAD cards that USCIS will provide:

  • A replacement card is the previous card is lost, stole or damaged
  • A renewal card after the current card is expired

Eligibility Categories

Certain qualifying categories enable a person to apply for the EAD card. Here are the following categories which allow the person to apply for this card:

  • A person with an asylee or refugee status along with their spouses and children
  • Certain categories of foreign nationals who are in the United States but they need this document to prove that they are eligible to accept employment
  • Students with F-1 status, M-1 status and J-1 status
  • Spouses of J-1 visa holders
  • Family-based and employment-based non-immigrants

Below is a list of people who do not qualify for this card and cannot accept employment from any employer in the United States:

  • Visa Waiver Person, i.e., a foreign national who is allowed to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days
  • B-2 visa holders who are allowed entry into the country for a specific period of time
  • C-1 visa holders who are in continuous transit within the country

Basics on How to Apply for EAD

Documents Needed

Here is the following list of supporting documents that are required to apply for a work permit, i.e., Form I-766.

  • The application form along with the application filing fee(required).
  • You might be asked to send the Form I-94, Arrival of Departure
  • If applicable, send a copy of the previous EAD. If you have not filed for an EAD previously, you need to send government issued IDs such as passport, birth certificate or a visa that is issued by any foreign agency. Any document that you wish to send must have a photograph of the person which clearly depicts their facial features
  • Two colored photographs of the person with a white background taken within 30 days of filing for the application. The photos should be printed on a thin paper with a glossy finish and should be untouched. Size of the photographs must be 2×2 inches

Fill Form i766

Fill the form in black ink if you are filling the application by hand. If you run out of space, you can use the additional space provided in Part 6. Additional Information or you can attach a separate sheet. Write your Name and Registration Number on top of each separate sheet. Indicate the Part Number and Item Number on the sheet.

Part 1: Reason for Applying

You must select one check box in this section that describes your reason for applying. The checkboxes are highlighted as Initial permission to accept employment, Replacement, or Renewal of form.

Part 2: Information About You

Include all the personal information about you, such as the Complete Name, a valid mailing address, physical address, Alien Registration Number, USCIS Online Account Number which is issued by USCIS if you have previously applied for the card, marital status, gender, etc

Part 3: Applicant’s Contact Information, Statement, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

You need to check the appropriate box for Item Number 1a-7b if you’ve had an interpreter, or you filled the application by yourself. The applicant must have a signature on the form along with the date. Include your telephone number and email address, if any.

Part 4: Interpreters Information, Certification, and Signature

Provide the details of the Interpreters’ information such as the Name, Address, Phone number, email address followed by their signature and date. You can skip this section if there wasn’t any interpreter involved.

Part 5: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person preparing this form, if other than the applicant

If a person, other than the applicant has helped you complete this form, then their information must be entered into this section. If the interpreter has assisted you in completing this application, then they must fill Part 4 and Part 5 as well. And, if the person was an attorney, then they must fill this part and also attach Form G-28 along with the application. This section must also include the Signature and Date.

Part 6: Additional Information

If you need any extra space, then this part of the page can be used for applying. For extra space, you can either make copies of Part 6 or attach a separate sheet with your application.

Attach the Required Documents

Apart from the uscis i-765 application, you must attach the additional documents mentioned above along with the application. Remember that you are not supposed to send any original documents unless and until you are asked to do so by the USCIS officials. Only submit copies of the supporting documents with the original application form.

EAD Card

Attach the Required Fee

The EAD renewal fee is $410 which is only for applying. The biometric fee costs $85 which makes the total $495. This filing fee is not refundable irrespective of what happens with the application. The fee can be paid using a money order, personal check, or credit card. USCIS does not accept payment in the form of cash.

Those who are filing the application on a first-time basis, do not have to pay the filing fee if they fall in any of the following categories:

  • Refugees or asylees
  • N-8 or N-9 nonimmigrants
  • T-1 and U-1 nonimmigrants
  • A dependent of specific foreign government

They are a few more categories of people who are not listed here. You can check it out on the official site USCIS. The applicant can also opt for a fee waiver if they are facing any financial hardships.

Submitting the EAD Application

When you’re sending the application, remember to double-check every part of the application and ensure that all the additional and supporting documents are attached carefully. It is best to have your attorney or any local non-profit organization help you in completing the form. Check out the official USCIS website to take a look at the mailing addresses and then mail your application. As every application is different, they must be mailed to different addresses for processing.

If you are submitting the application through e-filing, then you need to have a valid USCIS account. E-filing has its very own advantages such as you can check your status online, receiving alerts and notifications, uploading any further documents, edit personal information.

For more details on how to fill the application, please do check the official USCIS site.

USCIS Processing for the i766 Application

The i-766 application usually takes 90 days before a decision is made. While sending the application, the applicant must fill out the G-114 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance form which will help them receive notifications and alerts.

During the Initial Processing, USICS will check if your application is complete or not. If you do not provide information for all the important fields, then your application might get rejected. USICS might also ask you for any additional information such as copies of certain documents or originals. If originals are requested, it will be returned to you once it’s no longer needed.

Based on your application, you might also be asked to attend a personal interview. During the interview, you might be asked for your biometrics or verify any other personal information. Finally, the decision will be made by the USICS and you will be notified if your application is approved or rejected.

EAD Replacement

There are two kinds of replacements that you can apply for

Replacement for Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Cards:

If your EAD was lost, stolen, or damaged, but the card was not expired, then you can request a new EAD by filing a new Form I-766 and selecting the Replacement check box in Part 1.

Replacement if your card has errors:

  • If you receive the EAD card, and it has incorrect information due to the incorrect information provided by you, then you must submit a new form i-766 and the filing fee.
  • If USCIS has issued the card to you with errors from their side, then you do not need to file for a new Form. Instead, you can write them a letter explaining the given errors and the respective corrections. Send the letter along with the card to the service center that processed your application.

Renew the Card

As you might already know, the validity of this card is only for a specific time. This means that you need to keep the renewal process going as soon as the card expires. The renewal process is similar to the application process and has the same procedure and the same fee. By the next time you apply for a renewal, you must already be aware of the entire procedure.

Just remember that you can only apply for renewal 180 days before your card expires. USCIS will not start to process your application if you send the application way before 180 days. They might, however, accept the application sent by you, but will start working on it once it hits closer to 180 days. Make sure to keep a close eye on the expiry date, as USICS will not accept your renewal application if you send it after the expiry date.

Problems Associated With EAD Cards

  • Non-delivery of card: Non-delivery of card refers to the card not being delivered to the person even though the website claims that the card has been mailed to the destination. If this happens, then you can request USCIS for an inquiry by specifying the details of the mailing service. Do not file for an inquiry if you have recently been approved. Wait for a period of 90 days to file an inquiry.
  • Delay in Processing: Initially, the card submission timeline was only for a period of 90 days but in the past few years, USCIS has increased the timeline to 180 days to send the application. If there is a delay in processing your document, then you can check your status online. Even after a significant time, you did not receive your card then you can file an inquiry.
  • Denial of Application: If your application is denied, you will receive a letter which also explains the reason for denial. You will two options which are “reopen” and “reconsider”. Reopen will let you reopen the case with new facts, whereas reconsider will allow you to ask USCIS to reconsider your application if there were any errors.

List of Other Documents Required for EAD Verification

List A: Documents required for both identity and Employment authorization

  • The U.S. Passport
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Foreign Passport with a temporary stamp
  • Form I-766

List B: Documents that are required for Identity Verification

  • Driver’s license or any state photo ID
  • Voter ID
  • U.S. military card
  • Native American Tribal Document

List C: Documents for Employment Authorization

  • SSN Number Card
  • Birth Certificate issued by state, municipal or country authority with a seal
  • Native American Tribal Document

For more information on additional/supporting documents required, check out this page from USCIS.

What is the Difference Between Green Card and EAD Card?

A Green Card, i.e., a Lawful Permanent Residence Card, is a card that allows a person to live as a permanent resident in the USA in addition to working. Through this card, people can work for any employer in the United States and live here for as long as they want. You must meet certain eligibility criteria to be able to apply for this card.

If the person receives a green card, they are referred to as permanent citizens of the United States. Although they have the same set of rights as a U.S.-born citizen, a few rights might differ for green card holders such as the right to cast a vote. Additionally, a green card resident can move in and out of the country with flexibility, but they cannot stay abroad for more than 6 months. If they do so, they are deemed to have abandoned their permanent residence and may not be granted re-entry into the United States.

Some key differences between the two are that EAD card holders are for those who are immigrants and want to work in the United States for a certain period. Green card residents on the other hand become permanent residents of the States and have the right to work. Another important feature is that Green cards can easily travel to other places alongside filing petitions for their children and spouse’s sponsorship. A person with an EAD card cannot travel outside the country without a valid travel document, and they cannot file any petition for their family members. As far as processing time is concerned, a green card takes 7-33 months to get approved whereas an EAD can get approved within 3-6 months.


A Green Card Employment Authorization Document is a document that acts as a work permit for those applicants who have applied for a green card. As the processing of green cards takes way more time than usual, the applicants need to work authorization. All the individuals who are in the process of applying for a green card can apply for these work permit documents.

As you already know what EAD is used for, GC EAD is for those who want a work permit while their Green Card applications are undergoing processing. With this card, you have permission to work while at the same time, you are waiting for your Permanent Residence. The only difference between the two is that the regular EAD is not linked to Green Card.

Eligibility Criteria for GC EAD

GC EAD is only for those who have already applied for their green cards and are waiting for their approval. Members who already have a job offer are also eligible for a GC EAD. You will need the following set of documents along with the form:

  • Copy of the travel document I-94
  • The last EAD that you applied for or the government issued ID if you have never applied for the EAD before
  • Passport sized photographs

How to Apply for GC EAD?

While applying for a GC EAD, you need to file a petition for both EAD and the Green Card at the same time. You need to file the application for Form I-765. The contents of this form are the same as Form I-766. Once all the necessary documents and the application form are filled, you can mail it using the addresses present on the official USCIS website.

You need to pay the application fee in the form of a money order, check, or credit as USICS does not accept cash payments. The total fee for applying is $410. If you have given the biometric for the green card then you do not need to pay $85 which is the additional fee for a biometric. If not, then you need to pay $85 for biometric.

What Is the Validity of a GC EAD Application?

The validity of a GC EAD can only last for a year after which you have to apply for renewal. IF you fail to apply for renewal 180 days before the expiry date, then you might lose the ability to work in the United States legally. It is best to apply for a GC EAD renewal even if you believe that your green card application will be processed during this time frame. As soon as your green card arrives, you do not have to apply for a GC EAD renewal.


An EAD is a necessary document that lets you work legally in the United States. This card remains valid for just a year after which you have to apply for a renewal. The renewal processing takes up to 3-7 months and you can keep checking your status through the official USCIS website. This article also covers information on GC EAD and its application process. This guide only serves the purpose of providing basic information on the EAD Card and the GC EAD Card. Always check the official USCIS site for the latest updates and in-depth application process.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)

What is the renewal fee for the EAD?

The application fee for EAD is $410 along with the biometric fee of $85. The total cost for the application process is $495. If you are undergoing any financial hardships, then you can also apply for a waiver.

What is the validity of the EAD and GC EAD cards?

The validity of both these cards is for just a year. You have to apply for renewal 180 days before the card expires.

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