I-765 and the Employment Authorization Document: What You Need to Know
If you’re in the United States on a visa that doesn’t expressly permit you to work, you’ll most likely need to fill out and file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
This form allows you to petition the U.S. government for authorization to work, regardless of the type of visa you’re using to stay in the country.
But who can file Form I-765 and get an Employment Authorization Document, or EAD? This guide explains.
What is a Form I-765?
Some foreign nationals in the United States may need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This form is what you use to ask the U.S. government if you can work while you’re here.
Some people are in the United States with the express purpose of working. If you have a worker visa, you may not need to obtain this authorization, but you should check with your immigration attorney just to be sure. On the other hand, you may want to obtain documentation that says you’re authorized to work in the U.S., and this is the form you’ll use to get it.
You can also use Form I-765 to apply for a Social Security number and Social Security card. A Social Security number, or SSN, allows you to get a job, report your wages to the U.S. government and more.
Who Needs to File Form I-765?
You only need to file form I-765 if you are seeking authorization to work in the U.S., or if you need a Social Security number. You may use it if you want to obtain documentation that says you’re eligible to work, even if you don’t need it.
If you have a green card, which means you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you should not file Form I-765. You already have authorization to work and live anywhere you’d like in the U.S. if you’re a lawful permanent resident.
You do not need to file an application for work authorization if you already have a work visa. Your work visa already authorizes you to work for your specific employer.
Who’s Eligible to File an Application for Employment Authorization?
You may be eligible to file an Application for Employment Authorization if you are a:
- A-3 nonimmigrant
- B-1 visa holder who’s a personal or domestic servant of a nonimmigrant employer, of a U.S. citizen, or employee of a foreign airline
- Continuous resident since January 1, 1972
- Dependent of some foreign government officials, a dependent of a G-1, G-3 or G-4 nonimmigrant, or a dependent of a NATO-1 through NATO-6 nonimmigrant
- Foreign student in some F, J and M visa categories
- G-5 nonimmigrant
- K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé of a U.S. citizen or K-2 dependent, or a K-3 nonimmigrant spouse of a U.S. citizen or K-4 dependent
- Part of the Family Unity Program or LIFE Family Unity program
- Principal beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition who is facing “compelling circumstances,” or the spouse or unmarried child of such a person
- Refugee or asylee in the United States
- Spouse of an E-1 treaty trader, E-2 treaty investor or E-3 specialty occupation professional from Australia
- Spouse of an E-2 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, or CNMI, investor
- Spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant
- Spouse of an L-1 intracompany transferee
- T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5 or T-6 nonimmigrant
- U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4 or U-5 visa holder
- V-1, V-2 or V-3 nonimmigrant
- VAWA self-petitioner
Others may also be eligible to apply. If you’re not sure whether you qualify to apply for work authorization in the United States, you should check with your immigration attorney for more information. Your lawyer will be able to tell you, based on your immigration status and visa type, whether you’re eligible to apply for employment authorization.