At Bashyam Global LLP, we understand that the journey toward gaining employment authorization in the United States can be complex and arduous. This is especially true for foreign nationals such as refugees, asylum seekers, or those applying for adjustment of status who require an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally work. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to guiding you through the intricate immigration system, simplifying the EAD application process, and working tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for you. Trust in Bashyam Global LLP, where every case is personal, and every client is treated with the respect and attention they deserve.
The Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also referred to as a work permit, is a legal certificate granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This document is primarily issued to individuals who do not possess permanent resident status, or other nonimmigrant visa status in some cases, in the U.S. Such individuals include asylum seekers, refugees, and people who are in the process of applying for adjustment of status and others. The EAD provides these individuals with the legal permission to work in the U.S. for a specified duration. Eligibility for an EAD can hinge on various factors such as the individual’s immigration status, pending applications, or certain visa categories.
In general, to work legally in the U.S., foreign nationals must possess a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). However, there are certain exceptions. For instance, individuals who hold specific types of visas, such as H-1B (specialty occupations), L-1 (intracompany transferees), or O-1 (extraordinary ability or achievement), are authorized to work without an EAD.
Moreover, lawful permanent residents (Green card holders) are also exempted from the EAD requirement. It’s crucial to note that working in the U.S. without proper authorization may lead to severe consequences, including deportation and bars to re-entry. As such, it is recommended to consult with an immigration professional to understand one’s rights and obligations.
Most foreign nationals with a nonimmigrant status who intend to work in the United States need an EAD with some distinct exceptions. This includes individuals in temporary status with USCIS, such as students in valid F-1 status who are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), as well as asylum seekers and refugees, and those that have pending Form I-485, application to register permanent residence or adjust status. Spouses of certain visa holders, like H-1B and L-1 visas, may also be eligible to apply for an EAD.
Note: H-1B spouses can only get an EAD if they have an underlying I-140 approved. L-1 visa spouses have employment authorization incident to status and do not require EAD.
In addition, those who applied for adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents (Green Card applicant) may obtain an EAD while their cases are pending. Individuals with pending applications for certain humanitarian programs, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), U Visa, and T Visa, also typically require an EAD to work legally in the U.S. It’s important to verify one’s eligibility for an EAD with an immigration professional, given the intricacies and periodic changes in immigration law.
The processing time for an EAD can vary significantly depending on the individual’s circumstances and the USCIS office handling the work authorization application.
As of current USCIS estimates, it typically takes anywhere from 5 to 7 months to process an EAD application.
However, these timelines can change due to factors such as the volume of applications received, any required additional checks, or delays due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s crucial to remember that these are just estimates, and actual processing times may be shorter or longer. The USCIS provides online tools to check the status of an application, which can be useful to monitor progress and manage expectations. As always, consulting with an immigration professional can provide the most accurate information based on your specific situation.
To file for an EAD, follow the steps below:
Assess Eligibility: Determine if you are eligible for an EAD based on your immigration status or pending applications. Consult with an immigration attorney if needed.
Complete Form I-765: Download and complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Be sure to fill out the form accurately and completely.
Gather Required Documentation: Assemble all required documents, which may include proof of your identity, proof of your immigration status, and two passport-sized photos, among other documents. Refer to the instructions on Form I-765 for the complete list.
Pay the Filing Fee: Pay the necessary USCIS filing fee, if applicable. The fee varies depending on your status and age.
Submit the Application: Mail your completed application, including Form I-765 and all supporting documents, to the correct USCIS address. Be sure to keep a copy for your records.
Wait for a Decision: USCIS will review your application and make a decision. You can monitor your case status online.
Receive Your Employment Authorization Document Card: If your application is approved, USCIS will mail your EAD to the address you provided.
It’s recommended to consult with an immigration professional to ensure your application is properly prepared and submitted.
The validity period often varies based on the individual’s immigration status and the specific category under which the EAD was issued. Typically, an EAD is valid for one year. However, in some cases, it might be issued for a shorter or longer period. It’s crucial to note that the EAD expiration date is depicted on the face of the card.
Once the EAD expires, it is no longer legal to work in the United States until the card is renewed or the holder acquires a different work-authorized status. It’s advisable to apply for a renewal EAD at least 90-120 days before the existing one expires to avoid disruption in employment. Again, consulting with an immigration professional can provide the most accurate and personalized advice.
In certain cases, USCIS may consider expediting an application. This typically requires the applicant to demonstrate a compelling reason, such as severe financial loss to a company or a person, emergency situations, or humanitarian reasons. It should be noted that expedited requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and granting them is at the discretion of USCIS. Additionally, a request to expedite an EAD does not guarantee that the application will be processed immediately. The decision to expedite is taken after considering the exigency of the situation and the potential implications of the delay. It is highly recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the eligibility and process for an expedited request.
Only individuals applying for an OPT or STEM OPT EAD, can premium process their cases. Otherwise, at this time the USCIS does not offer premium processing for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).
This means the processing times for EAD applications are generally unaffected by a request to expedite. That said, requests to expedite can still be made if there is an urgent need or compelling reason for the application. Consult with an immigration attorney to understand whether your case qualifies.
At Bashyam Global LLP, our experienced immigration lawyers can help you assess your eligibility. Understanding the complex immigration laws and navigating through the prerequisites for EAD can be a daunting task. Our law firm is equipped to facilitate this process and guide you in assessing your eligibility based on your immigration status or pending applications.
Our team at Bashyam Global LLP will assist you in accurately completing Form I-765, which is a pivotal step in applying for an EAD. Our expertise ensures the form is filled out correctly, minimizing any potential mistakes that might delay your application.
Collecting the necessary documentation for an EAD application can be time-consuming and confusing. At Bashyam Global LLP, we help streamline this process by identifying the specific documents you require based on your individual circumstances and immigration status.
Once all the necessary steps are completed, our professionals can assist in correctly filing your EAD application. We help ensure all documents, forms, and fees are submitted to the correct USCIS address and advise you to keep copies for your records.
After the application submission, we understand that waiting for a decision can be stressful. At Bashyam Global LLP, we provide regular updates about your case status and answer any queries you may have during this period.
Bashyam Global LLP also assists in the EAD renewal process, advising you to apply for a renewal EAD at least 90-120 days before your existing one expires. Our goal is to ensure a smooth renewal process, preventing any disruption to your employment.
In situations where there is an urgent need for an EAD, our attorneys can guide you through the process of an expedited request. We help evaluate if your case meets the USCIS criteria for expedited processing and assist in presenting a compelling case.
At Bashyam Global LLP, we are committed to simplifying your journey to employment authorization in the United States. We understand the intricacies of immigration laws and offer comprehensive services to help you every step of the way. If you have questions, need assistance with your EAD application, or are considering an expedited request, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 919-833-0840. We are here to help, and we look forward to serving you.