Now and in the Future: The Basics of an Employment Authorization Document

An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is simply what its name implies: a document that authorizes an individual to work in the United States. An EAD is provided to an employer to prove that the individual is authorized to work in the United States. There are several different categories under which immigrants are eligible for an EAD, including but not limited to:

  • Certain refugee and asylum categories;
  • F-1 students seeking optional practical training in an occupation directly related to studies;
  • Certain employment-based nonimmigrant categories, including a spouse of an E-1/E-treaty trader or investor, and a spouse of L-1 intracompany transferee;
  • Certain family-based nonimmigrant categories, including a K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé or U.S. citizen or K-2 dependent, and a K-3 nonimmigrant spouse of a U.S. Citizen or K-4 dependent;
  • Immigrants who have filed for permanent residence or to adjust status; and
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and consideration of DACAs.
  • And now DAPA (Deferred Action Parental Accountability)

This is not an exhaustive list of the eligible categories, but identifies some of the more common categories under which immigrants apply for EADs. There are more than 40 different categories.

EAD Application Process

To apply for an EAD under one of the eligible categories, an applicant must complete and file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The filing fee for Form I-765 is $380, and under limited circumstances, the initial filing fee is not required. The application packet requires a copy of the Form I-94, a copy of the EAD (or government-issued identity document if there is no EAD), and two passport-style color photographs taken within 30 days of filing the application. An EAD application should be processed within 90 days. If it is not processed within this period then the applicant may request interim work authorization.

An EAD card is normally valid for one year; however, if an alien’s status in the United States is shorter than one year, the EAD card will be issued to coincide with the expiration of one’s immigration status. If an EAD expires, one must file for a renewal EAD using the same form. An EAD renewal may not be filed more than 120 days before the expiration of the current EAD.

Obama Administration Hints at Possible Surge in EAD Cards

With the recent midterm elections and the shift to a Republican-controlled Congress, President Barack Obama and his administration have sought to implement significant immigration reform. President Obama’s recent speech signified that his plan will affect nearly five million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is soliciting bids from vendors capable of handling a “surge” scenario where nine million identification cards would need to be produced and issued in one year, including permanent residency cards and EAD cards. According to the article, the request for bids “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action.” It appears that President Obama and his administration is implementing significant immigration reform to increase access to EAD cards.

Contact a Texas Immigration Attorney

If you have any immigration concerns or questions, the San Antonio immigration attorneys at The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC can guide you through the immigration process. Our immigration lawyers provide comprehensive immigration legal services, including visa applications for both family and employment base cases. We have offices located in San Antonio and San Angelo. Call (210) 932-3600 or (325) 227-6736 today.

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