U.S. Employment Authorization Explained

U.S. Employment Authorization Explained

Oct 18, 2023

Table set with Employment Authorization Document, pen, and job application, framed by a U.S. flag, illustrating U.S. employment authorization.


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  • What is Employment Authorization?

  • Why it Matters

  1. The Basics of Employment Authorization

    • Definition

    • The Form I-765

  2. Eligibility Criteria

    • General Requirements

    • Specific Categories

  3. The Application Process

    • Steps Involved

    • Documents Needed

  4. Waiting Period and Temporary Work Permits

    • Expected Duration

    • Interim EADs

  5. Renewals and Extensions

    • When and How to Renew

    • Things to Keep in Mind

  6. Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    • Incorrect Information

    • Missing Deadlines

  7. Special Cases: DACA and Asylum Seekers

    • DACA Explained

    • Asylum and EAD

  8. The Cost Factor

    • Fees Involved

    • Fee Waivers

  9. Employers and EAD

    • Employer Responsibilities

    • I-9 Verification

  10. Obligations and Restrictions

    • What You Can and Can't Do

    • Penalties

  11. Impact of COVID-19

    • Delays

    • Temporary Measures

  12. Key Takeaways

    • Summary Points

  13. Resources

    • Internal and External Links

  14. Conclusion and Final Thoughts


Ah, the American Dream! The notion that anyone—yes, even you—can land on U.S. soil and make something of themselves. But wait, not so fast. Before you start planning your empire, there's a tiny (but oh-so-crucial) detail called Employment Authorization. What is it, and why should you care? Let's dive in, shall we?

The Basics of Employment Authorization


Employment Authorization, often referred to as EAD (Employment Authorization Document), is essentially your golden ticket to work in the United States. Think of it as your VIP pass to the labor market. But, like any VIP pass, it's not handed out like Halloween candy.

The Form I-765

Before you get too excited, there's some paperwork involved (you're shocked, I know). Specifically, the Form I-765. This form is the cornerstone of your EAD application. Mess it up, and you might find yourself in bureaucratic limbo.

Eligibility Criteria

General Requirements

So, who gets this golden ticket? Good question. The criteria for eligibility are about as complicated as the plot of a telenovela. But, to simplify: you need to be a non-U.S. citizen who's legally allowed to work in the U.S. Simple, right?

Specific Categories

Ah, but we're not done. You see, there are specific categories of people who may apply for an EAD. These include, but are not limited to, asylum seekers, students on OPT, and spouses of certain visa holders. Intrigued? Stick around; we're just getting started.

The Application Process

Steps Involved

Now, let's get to the nitty-gritty: the application process. It's a bit like assembling IKEA furniture; it seems easy, but one wrong move, and you're stuck with a lopsided bookshelf—or, in this case, a rejected application.

Documents Needed

So, what do you need? Apart from an extraordinary level of patience, you'll need a bunch of documents, including your Form I-765, passport, and previous EAD if you had one. It's like applying for a reality show, but less fun.

Waiting Period and Temporary Work Permits

Expected Duration

Ah, the waiting game. How long does it take? Typically, 90 days. But it could be shorter or longer, depending on several factors like the current backlog or if Mercury is in retrograde (just kidding about that last part).

Interim EADs

In some cases, you might be eligible for an interim EAD. This is essentially a "while-you-wait" work permit. It's like the appetizer before your main course arrives.

Renewals and Extensions

When and How to Renew

If you're thinking, "Great, I got my EAD! Time to kick back and relax," think again. EADs usually expire after a year, so mark that calendar for renewal.

Things to Keep in Mind

Renewals are not guaranteed. Yes, you heard that right. You need to maintain your eligibility, or else it's game over.

Incorrect Information

The devil is in the details, as they say. Filling out the Form I-765 incorrectly could be a one-way ticket to Rejectionville. Double, triple, quadruple-check before you hit submit.

Missing Deadlines

Time waits for no one, especially not for government paperwork. Missing a deadline could set you back considerably. Set reminders, alarms, or even hire a town crier—whatever it takes to keep you on track.

Special Cases: DACA and Asylum Seekers

DACA Explained

If you're a "Dreamer" under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you've got a different path. You're eligible for EAD, but the rules are more stringent, so keep your eyes peeled and your papers in order.

Asylum and EAD

Now, if you're an asylum seeker, the road is long and winding. But the good news? You can apply for EAD while you wait for your case to be adjudicated. A glimmer of hope in a challenging journey.

The Cost Factor

Fees Involved

Hold onto your wallets! Applying for an EAD isn't free; there's a fee involved. However, in some cases, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. So, all hope is not lost for those on a tight budget.

Fee Waivers

To apply for a fee waiver, you'll need to demonstrate financial hardship. Gather all relevant documents to make your case as solid as a rock.

Employers and EAD

Employer Responsibilities

If you're an employer, keep in mind that hiring someone without proper authorization can land you in hot water. Make sure to verify the EAD through Form I-9.

I-9 Verification

The I-9 form is not just another piece of paperwork; it's your safeguard against potential legal troubles. Both employers and employees should treat it with the gravity it deserves.

Obligations and Restrictions

What You Can and Can't Do

Having an EAD doesn't mean you can do as you please. There are specific obligations and restrictions you need to adhere to. Think of it as your set of rules and guidelines on this journey.


Failure to comply can result in penalties ranging from fines to deportation. So, tread carefully and always stay within the bounds of the law.

Impact of COVID-19


The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the works, causing delays in processing times. Patience is more than just a virtue; it's a necessity.

Temporary Measures

However, certain temporary measures have been put in place to ease the burden, such as automatic extensions for some categories of EADs. It's a silver lining in these turbulent times.

Key Takeaways

In the labyrinthine journey that is U.S. employment authorization, navigating the maze can be challenging. But with the right resources and a dash of persistence, the golden ticket could be yours.


Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The journey to obtaining U.S. Employment Authorization is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are worth the effort. Armed with this knowledge, you're now better equipped to venture forth and seize your own slice of the American Dream.

Call (800) 842-0316 for Your Free Consultation

© Fibi Law Firm 2023

Call (800) 842-0316 for Your Free Consultation

© Fibi Law Firm 2023