In the realm of U.S. immigration, the right to work is a vital aspect of one’s journey to self-sufficiency and prosperity. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as Form I-766, plays a pivotal role in proving your eligibility to work within the country for a specific period.
The Need for an EAD
U.S. employers are obligated to verify the work authorization of all employees. Holding an EAD is one of the ways to verify your eligibility to work in the United States. To request an EAD, you must file Form I-765, the “Application for Employment Authorization.”
There are several scenarios in which you may need to apply for an EAD:
1. Authorization Based on Immigration Status: If your immigration status or circumstances permit you to work in the United States and you require tangible evidence of this employment authorization, an EAD is essential.
2. Requesting Permission to Work: In situations where you need to seek permission to work independently, you must apply for employment authorization. Some instances include:
- Holding a pending Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.”
- Having a pending Form I-589, “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.”
- Being in a nonimmigrant status that allows your presence in the United States but necessitates obtaining permission from USCIS to work (e.g., F-1 or M-1 student visas).
Exemptions from EAD Application
It’s important to note that certain individuals do not require an EAD:
- Lawful Permanent Residents: If you possess a Green Card (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card), this serves as evidence of your employment authorization.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Holders with Specific Work Authorization: Individuals holding nonimmigrant visas authorizing work for a specific employer (e.g., H-1B, L-1B, O, or P visas) are not obliged to apply for an EAD.
Renewing Your EAD
If you remain eligible for employment authorization, or your employment is still incident to your status or circumstances, but your EAD is nearing its expiration date or has already expired, it’s crucial to apply for a renewal EAD. This involves submitting a new Form I-765 and the requisite filing fee (unless you qualify for a fee waiver). To prevent gaps in your employment authorization, it’s advisable to initiate the renewal process when your EAD is within 180 days of its expiration.
In conclusion, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) serves as a gateway to lawful employment in the United States. Whether you are navigating the complex world of immigration or seeking to renew or replace your EAD, it’s essential to understand the requirements and processes involved. For personalized guidance and to ensure compliance with the latest regulations, our law firm is here to assist you. Reach out to Jeelani Law Firm today so we can help you secure your EAD!