U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States.
If you are not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to prove you may work in the United States.
The Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
USCIS issues Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) in the following categories:
- EAD: This document proves you are allowed to work in the United States.
- Renewal EAD: You should apply for a renewal EAD six months before your original EAD expires.
- Replacement EAD: This document replaces a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD. A replacement EAD also replaces an EAD that was issued with incorrect information, such as a misspelled name.
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs the admission of all persons to the United States.
The specific categories that require an Employment Authorization Document include (but are not limited to) asylees and asylum seekers; refugees; students seeking particular types of employment; applicants to adjust to permanent residence status; people in or applying for temporary protected status; fiancés of American citizens; and dependents of foreign government officials.
Please see Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) for a complete list of the categories of aliens who can apply for an Employment Authorization Document to be able to work in the United States.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document.
If you are a lawful permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your Alien Registration Card proves that you may work in the United States.
If you are authorized to work for a specific employer, such as a foreign government, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your passport and your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) proves that you may work in the United States.
You may be eligible to file Form I-765 electronically.
If you are not eligible for electronic filing, you must file an Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) by mail with the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area where you live.
If USCIS does not approve or deny your Employment Authorization Document application within 90 days (within 30 days for an asylum applicant; note: asylum applicants are eligible to file for EADs only after waiting 150 days from the date they filed their properly completed original asylum applications), you may request an interim Employment Authorization Document.
You must go to your local USCIS office and bring with you proof of your identity and any documents that USCIS has sent you about your employment authorization application.
Denial of EAD
If your application for an Employment Authorization Document is denied, you will receive a letter that will explain why the application was denied.
You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority, however, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the office that made the unfavorable decision.
Through the filing these motions, you ask the office to reexamine or reconsider their decision.
A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by affidavits or other documentary evidence.
A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made.