Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

Form I-765 is primarily used by asylum seekers and refugees to obtain an Employment Authorization Document, also known as an EAD, and then get a job in the US.

USCIS specifies seven groups of categories, and overall more than 50 eligible categories of immigrants and nonimmigrants who want to obtain an Employment Authorization Document. Here’s the list:

Form I-765 eligibility categories

Asylee/Refugee categories

These include not only the asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees, but also their spouse and children, who receive asylum or refugee on the derivative base.

  • Refugee
  • Paroled as a refugee
  • Asylee (meaning you were already granted asylum by USCIS)
  • Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal
  • Pending Asylum and Withholding of Removal Applicants
  • Applicants for Pending Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement

National categories

Refer to people of particular nationalities.

  • Citizens of Micronesia, Palau, or the Marshall Islands
  • Deferred Enforced Departure
  • Temporary Protected Status, or TPS
  • Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) section 203
  • Dependent of TECRO E-1 Nonimmigrant

Students categories

Refer to the foreigners who want to study in the US.

  • F-1 Students with the following sub-categories:
  • Pre-Completion OPT (Optional Practical Training)
  • Post-Completion OPT, 24-month Extension for STEM Students
  • F-1 Student Offered Off-Campus Employment Under the Sponsorship of a Qualifying International Organization
  • F-1 Student Seeking Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship
  • J-2 Spouse or Minor Child of an Exchange Visitor
  • M-1 Student Seeking Post-Completion OPT After Completing Studies

Employment-based nonimmigrant categories

  • B-1 Nonimmigrant Who Is the Personal or Domestic Servant of a Nonimmigrant Employer
  • B-1 Nonimmigrant Domestic Servant of a U.S. Citizen
  • B-1 Nonimmigrant Employed by a Foreign Airline
  • Spouse of an E-1 Treaty Trader, E-2 Treaty Investor, or E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional from Australia
  • Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee
  • Spouse of an E-2 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
  • Spouse of an H-1B Nonimmigrant
  • Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition Facing Compelling Circumstances
  • Spouse or Unmarried Child of a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition

Family-Based Nonimmigrant Categories

  • K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen or K-2 Dependent
  • K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of U.S. Citizen or K-4 Dependent
  • Family Unity Program
  • LIFE Family Unity
  • V-1, V-2, or V-3 Nonimmigrant

Categories of immigrants who want to adjust status

These include the green card applicants, also known as applicants for permanent residentship.

  • Adjustment Applicant under Section 245
  • Registry Applicant Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972
  • Renewal EAD for National Interest Waiver Physicians
  • Eligible Dependents of Employees of Diplomatic Missions, International Organizations, or NATO categories:
  • Dependent of A-1 or A-2 Foreign Government Officials
  • Dependent of G-1, G-3, or G-4 Nonimmigrant
  • Dependent of NATO-1 Through NATO-6

Additional categories

These include the Form I-765 eligibility categories that weren’t classified under any previous category.

  • Legalization Temporary Resident Pursuant to INA Sections 245A or 210
  • N-8 or N-9 Nonimmigrant
  • Applicant for Cancellation of Removal
  • Applicant for Legalization Pursuant to INA Section 210
  • Applicant for Legalization Pursuant to INA Section 245A
  • Parole
  • Deferred Action
  • Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Final Order of Deportation or Removal, including Deferral of Removal under the Convention Against Torture
  • LIFE Legalization Applicant
  • T-1 Nonimmigrant
  • T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 Nonimmigrant
  • T Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status
  • U-1 Nonimmigrant
  • U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5
  • U Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status
  • VAWA Self-Petitioners
  • A-3 or G-5 Nonimmigrant
  • Applicant for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Long-Term Resident Status

Form I-765 instructions/checklist

There are many requirements concerning how to file Form I-765. The key instructions are as follows:

  • Know the specifics of your eligibility category

If you already filed your asylum application, and it’s pending, meaning USCIS considers your asylum application, then you must wait for 150 days before you’re allowed for file Form I-765. Once you file the form, USCIS will issue your Employment Authorization Document in about a month (30 days).

There are many more categories of Form I-765 applicants, as we specified in the previous section. The key point is that you might want to discuss the aspects of filing the EAD application for your category with an immigration lawyer.

  • Supply documentation to prove your eligibility for EAD

If you fail to provide any documents that prove your right for employment in the US, then USCIS might ask you to mail then the copy of such document. However, USCIS might also deny your application. To prevent that, make sure that your package with the application form and the evidence are mailed together to USCIS. You may also need to contact an asylum or immigration lawyer to clarify what kind of documentation you need to send to USCIS with Form I-765.

  • Complete your documentation package

Besides the documents that prove your eligibility for employment authorization in the US, you need to also gather the filing fee, the signed application form, a copy of your previous Employment Authorization Document or passport. Your photograph, name, and date of birth must be presented on that copy.

Instead of the passport or EAD, you can include the copy of your birth certificate, visa, or an ID document such as the driver’s license (this kind of ID must also have the photograph of you and your fingerprint). Last, remember to include two additional photographs 2 x 2 inches in size (5.08 x 5.08 cm).

  • File the application form in time if you’re an asylum applicant

You can’t but file Form I-765 after 150 days passed since your asylum application is pending. Otherwise, USCIS will just reject your application. What’s worse, if you paid for processing your EAD application, then your money will not be reimbursed by USCIS.

  • Strictly follow all USCIS procedures related to filing Form I-765

You don’t want to delay your application processing, do you? To make sure that USCIS doesn’t deny your right to get a job in the US, you must appear at your interview and biometrics appointments. One more point related the interview appointment is that if you’re going to bring an interpreter to USCIS for your interview, make sure that this interpreter is authorized and qualified to translate your words during the interview. You must also gather any new evidence for USCIS by their request without a delay.

Form I-765 fee / pricing

The filing fee for Form I-765 is 410 dollars. An additional fee you must pay is for biometrics – 85 dollars. You must pay the exact amounts for both the biometrics and filing. Also, you cannot mail cash to USCIS – only pay using the supported payment ways – bank drafts, cashier’s checks, certified checks, personal checks, money orders, or a credit card.

Note that USCIS doesn’t return the money in case you failed to fill out the form completely or made an error on the form, or if you’re not eligible for EAD. Double-check that you completed the application correctly.

USCIS does specify also that you can apply for a fee waiver if you don’t have enough money to file the form.

Form I-765 processing time

USCIS specifies that they decide on the Form I-765 cases within two months at most, or 60 days to be exact, provided that you paid the filing and biometrics fees, correctly filled out your application form, and you have a pending asylum application, or Form I-589. At best, you have to wait for 30 days before you’re authorized to receive an EAD.

Form I-765 mail address/where to send

Depending on your eligibility category, you need to file your Form I-765 application to various USCIS mailbox, in particular:

  • If you’re a asylum seeker, mail your application to the same mail address as your asylum application. You can check out Form I-589 mailing addresses.
  • If you’re a refugee, mail your EAD application to one of the following addresses:
State where you filed your applicationMailbox
North Dakota
South Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox
USCISP.O. Box 21281Phoenix, AZ 85036
For FedEx, UPS, or DHL
USCISAttn: NFB AOS1820 E. Skyharbor Circle SSuite 100Phoenix, AZ 85034
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
U.S. Virgin Islands
West Virginia
USCIS Dallas Lockbox
USCISP.O. Box 660867Dallas, TX 75266
For FedEx, UPS, or DHL:
USCISAttn: NFB AOS2501 S. State Hwy. 121 BusinessSuite 400Lewisville, TX 75067