Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
An EAD, employment authorization document or employment authorization card, allows L2 visa holders and H4 visa holders, among other eligible visa categories, to legally work in USA. An EAD card is not required for employment, but it is recommended to apply for EAD in order to establish employment authorization in the US.
A sample EAD card is shown below.
EAD Application Process
The process to obtain your employment authorization document is outlined below.
1. File EAD Application.
- E-file I-765 your application online, or
- Download and Complete Form I-765. Mail a paper application at the filing address associated with the corresponding eligibility category. (H4 EAD applicants may not e-file. They may only submit a paper application). Use this Checklist for Form I-129F (Alien Fiancé/K-1)
2. Pay EAD Fees.
- If you e-file your employment authorization document application, you must pay the EAD card fee by credit card, debit card, or electronic transfer of funds from a checking or savings account from a US bank.
- If you mail your application, pay the fee by check or money order.
3. Submit Required EAD Documents.
- Download this checklist to make sure you have all the required documents to sent. Do not set the checklist along with the application - Checklist for Form I-129F (Alien Fiancé/K-1)
- Two identical color photographs as per the acceptable specifications. If you are E-Filing Form I-765, you do not need to submit paper photographs. However, you will need to go to a USCIS Application Support Center for the electronic capture of a photograph, fingerprints, and signature.
- Copy of your current passport
- Copy of the USCIS Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Document, issued to you when you entered the US
- Copy of L1 petition I-94 as evidence that you are a spouse of the principal L1 visa holder
e-Filing Employment Authorization Application
EAD application can also be filed electronically online at USCIS website.
Visit E-Filing Form I-765 for specific instructions on e-filing application for employment authorization.
If you are e-Filing Form I-765, you do NOT need to submit paper photographs. However, you will need to go to a USCIS Application Support Center for the electronic capture of a photograph, fingerprints and signature.
Note: H4 EAD applicants may not e-file Form I-765. For specific application information for H4 EAD applicants, visit H4 Visa EAD Application.
After Filing for EAD
Once you file the case, USCIS will send you a receipt with a receipt number (13 digit). This is your case number. The approximate processing time will be indicated on the receipt. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to several weeks to process your case.
You can Check EAD Status online at USCIS using case/receipt number or call National Customer Service Center 1-800-375-5283.
Note: If you do not hear from USCIS within 90 days, you can go to the nearest USCIS by making an infopass appointment and obtain an interim EAD card.
Once you case is approved you will receive a plastic EAD card. The validity period of this EAD will be written on the employment authorization card.
Your employment authorization document is valid for two years and may be renewed as long as your spouse has valid L1 or H1B visa status. If your spouse loses his/her L1 or H1B status, your L2 or H4 visa becomes void, therefore making the EAD card invalid.