What is an EAD and do I need it?
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card allows you to work while the I-485 is pending. If your current employment eligibility will expire before the USCIS approves your I-485 (e.g., you max out your L-1B) or you never had employment authorization (e.g., H-4) and you want to work, you need to obtain an EAD card. Most people who do not necessarily need an EAD card still apply for one as a backup plan in the event that they lose their current work eligibility and/or to obtain a Social Security Number.
When can I apply?
You can file the I-765 when you file your I-485, or at any point after the I-485 is filed and receipted. Once you have the employment authorization document card, you should apply to renew your EAD 120 days before the expiration date to avoid a time lapse and to enable the continuation of work without interruption. The regulations require EADs to be issued within 90 days of filing. Since the USCIS field offices no longer issue interim EADs, applicants whose EADs have not been adjudicated in 90 days should call the USCIS for service requests. This request may also be made in an Infopass appointment, but since the local offices cannot issue interim EADs, they simply send requests to expedite to the centers where the cases are pending.
Do I need to extend the employment authorization document and AP?
Yes, if you want to continue to work in the U.S. and/or you want to travel internationally. Please take a note of the expiration date of each, and apply to renew 120 days prior to the current expiration dates to avoid losing your employment/travel abilities.
Does this void the H-1B?
As an H-1B worker, you can apply for an EAD, but if you use it to work for another employer (even while working for your H-1B employer), you will lose your H-1B status. Just having, but not using, an EAD does not invalidate the H-1B.
What if I lose my EAD?
If you have physically lost your EAD, do not worry too much. You are able to request a replacement with the form I-765. This also includes EADs that are stolen or destroyed. Also, you are able to request a new EAD if this is an error that is not your fault. To request a new EAD with new information to replace an incorrect card, you should provide a new form I-765, a filing fee or a request for a fee waiver, any supporting documents, and the incorrect card.
Can I be denied?
Yes, you can be denied for an employment authorization document. The reasons stating why the EAD was denied will be sent to you. The person who submitted the file is the one who can appeal the denial, and an attorney is allowed to represent the person who filed the submission in the case of an appeal. You may submit a motion to reopen or reconsider with the office that made the decision.
For more information about the I-485 and EAD process, check out our full FAQ.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.