I-765: Full Guide to Apply For Employment Authorization

Vivien Thuri
06.18.21
5 minute read

If you’re looking to work in the US, then you’ll need to file Form I-765 and get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). But, like most legal processes, it can seem complex to do it from the outside. So if you want to file Form I-765 and finally get that EAD you’ve been hankering for, then continue reading to learn the ins and outs of the process.

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Table of Contents 📝
  • What is Form I-765?
  • Who may file Form I-765?
  • How to fill out Form I-765: Instructions
  • Documents you need to file with Form I-765
  • I-765 processing time and filing fee
  • What is Form I-765?

    Form I-765, also known as the “Application for Employment Authorization”, is simply a form you can file to request authorization to work legally in the US.

    If you’re granted authorization, then you’ll receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which is evidence of your legal right to work in the US.¹

    When applying for an EAD, you can also apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and card. You can do this on Form I-765.¹

    You might be wondering who may file Form I-765, and whether or not you’re eligible for an Employment Authorization card. Let’s take a closer look.

    Who may file Form I-765?

    To file Form I-765, you’ll need to fall into one of these eligibility categories:

    1. Foreign student
    2. Asylees/refugees and their family
    3. Employment-based non-immigrant
    4. Family-based non-immigrant
    5. Nationality-based categories
    6. Eligible dependents of employees of diplomatic missions, international organizations, or NATO
    7. Pending Adjustment of Status Applications
    8. Other¹

    As with most legal procedures, there are specific requirements regarding eligibility. To find out if you’re eligible, then it’s best to check out the official USCIS Form I-765 document. Once you know that you’re eligible, you’ll need to include your eligibility category in Part 2, Item Number 27, of Form I-765.

    On top of this, you can also find the official Form I-765 filing addresses here, based on the eligibility category you’re applying under. That way, you’ll know where to file I-765 without any mix-ups!

    How to fill out Form I-765: Instructions

    Filing Form I-765 correctly is pretty important. Here are some general tips to follow:

    • Type or print in black ink, and make sure it’s legible

    • If you need extra space, use the provided space in “Part 6. Additional Information” or attach it on a separate piece of paper

    • If you use extra paper, then make sure to have your name and Alien Registration Number at the top of each page, and indicate to which Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number your answer refers to. Additionally, sign and date each extra sheet

    • Answer all the questions as accurately as possible - when a question doesn’t apply to you, simply write “N/A” - unless it states to do something else

    • If your answer to a question is “Zero”, then type “None” instead of “Zero”¹

    In terms of the specifics of Form I-765, here is a simplified step-by-step guide to filling it out:

    1.Reason for applying
    Only select one Item Number that is applicable to you

    2.Information About You
    Provide your personal information and check your eligibility category

    3.Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature
    You’ll need is to sign and date your application. You’ll also need to select the appropriate box to indicate whether you’ve completed the application yourself or have been assisted by an interpreter

    4.Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
    If you used an interpreter, then they’ll need to add their contact information, certification and signature with the date

    5.Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Application, if Other Than the Applicant
    If someone other than you completed your application for you, then they’ll need to add their contact information and sign and date the application

    6.Additional Information
    If at any point during the form you need more space, then you can use this section for that. Just be sure to add your name, A-number, signature, date and the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number your answer refers to¹

    For specific details on filing Form I-765, it’s best to check the official USCIS document. Sometimes there are updates and exceptions to the rules, so double checking is your safest bet.

    Additionally, it’s also recommended that you keep a copy of your completed Form I-765.¹

    Documents you need to file with Form I-765

    When it comes to government forms and paperwork, things need to be correct. So when you file Form I-765, make sure to double check that you have all the required documents attached as well. If you don’t, the USCIS may reject your application.¹

    The required documents you’ll need to file with your properly signed I-765 form are:

    • A copy of either Form I-94, your passport, or another travel document

    • Your previous EAD - if you’ve never been issued an EAD before, then you’ll need to submit your government-issued ID (such as your passport), birth certificate with photo ID, a foreign issued visa, or national ID document with a photo and/or fingerprint

    • Two identical passport-style color photographs¹

    Also, you should know that for specific eligibility categories you may need other types of supporting documents.

    In any case, it’s always best to check with the USCIS for the exact required documentation. There’s nothing worse than having your application rejected on a small technicality!

    I-765 processing time and filing fee

    Form I-765 comes with a filing fee of $410. If applicable to your circumstances, you’ll also need to pay a biometric services fee of $85.²

    The EAD processing time can be anywhere between 1.5 to 13 months. Luckily, you can use the USCIS case status tracking tool to find out the status of your application - so you’re not completely in the dark! The processing time may vary, depending on which field office you’re using.³

    You should note that the processing time of your application can be affected by its outcome. When waiting for authorization of your EAD, you may receive a:

    1. Request for More Information
    2. Request for an Interview
    3. Approval
    4. Denial¹

    Of course, if the USCIS requests more information or an interview, this can lengthen the processing time of your application.

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    Sources:

    1. USCIS - I-765 pdf.
    2. USCIS - I-765
    3. USCIS - Processing times

    All sources checked 17 June 2021


    This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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