Work Permit EAD RenewalHaving a visa to enter the United States doesn’t ensure your right to work.

Several non-immigrant visas including L-2 and H-4 visas demand a work permit from the U.S. authority before securing employment in the U.S.

The process begins with application for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). However, it doesn’t suffice all. It has its own limitations such as expiry. One must renew them before or after the EAD is expired.

This comprehensive guide will help you through the process of EAD renewal and other relevant information that you must pay heed to.

EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) Overview

EAD stands for Employment Authorization Documents that grants legal rights to foreign nationals to work in the United States. The employer must confirm that every employee, regardless of citizenship or national origin, is authorized to get work permit in the U.S. All an employer is supposed to do while hiring a new employee is to fill out Form I-9 that will verify the applicant’s eligibility to work in the country.

Afterwards, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) watches over the issuance of EADs and incorporates competent applicant’s filing Form I-765 application for employment authorization. Certain amount of fees must be paid by the applicant along with submitting valid documents before the submission of application. These will be sent via postal mail to the appropriate USCIS service center and you’re liable to check on the address’ accuracy as it’s based on your eligibility category.

You can apply for an EAD if you:

  • Are authorized to work in the U.S. due to your immigration status or circumstances, for instance, you’re an asylee, refugee or U nonimmigrant, and require proof of that employment authorization.
  • Are needed to request employment authorization, for instance:
  • you’ve a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • you’ve a pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
  • you’ve a nonimmigrant status that permits you to remain in the United States but doesn’t allow you to work in the United States without first seeking permission from USCIS (such as an F-1 or M-1 student).

Note: If you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States, then you’re not required to apply for an EAD. Your Green Card (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card) will validate your employment authorization. Moreover, you must not apply for an EAD provided you possess a nonimmigrant visa such as H-1B, L-1B, O, or P visa, which authorizes you to work for a specific employer.

You’ll find that the EAD is a card that looks similar to a credit card or driver’s license. It can easily fit in your wallet. It bears the holder’s name, photograph and the expiration date of work eligibility in the U.S.

Employment Authorization Document (I-765) Renewal Process 

Immigration invites excitement along with some headache. Those headaches won’t be recurring only if you follow the process diligently. Just like all other applications related to the immigration benefits, the I-765 employment authorization too carries certain conditions.

There’s an expiry date, hence, subject to renewal before the expiration date is crossed over. Complexities might surround you if you delay the filing process, considering the amount of time it generally takes to process the renewal.

Here’s the step-by-step guide to the renewal process:

File I-765 Form, Work Permit Renewal

The work permit renewal application needs you to undergo the same steps and processes you took while applying for the original EAD.

  • You must explicitly state your purpose of filing for the I-765 from the options, which are either
  1. Initial permission
  2. Replacement of damaged lost or stolen EAD; or
  3. Renewal of EAD
  • As you’re filing for renewal, you must submit a copy of your current EAD
  • You must enter all the required information
  • Attach your signature after you’ve filled out the form

Note: Failing to fill out the complete application but attaching all relevant evidence lead to denial.

EAD Renewal Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents will be asked while you apply to renew the card with USCIS:

  • A copy of your current EAD card.
  • A copy of your I-94, a print-out of your electronic I-94, passport, or any other available travel document
  • Two identical passport photographs
  • If you’re an I-485 green card adjustment of status applicant, provide evidence that you’ve a pending AOS petition with the USCIS (e.g., a copy of your I-485 form receipt notice).
  • A copy of a valid government-issued identity document

EAD Renewal Processing Time

The renewal application process of your Employment Authorization Document (I-765) usually takes around 2 to 16 months. It is important to note that the processing time for your application is contingent upon your existing status in the United States. For instance, while an H-4 spouse might have to wait for up to 11 months for I-765 renewal, an L-2 spouse might only have to wait for 10 months.

It is significant to understand that these are only approximations and processing times are subject to constant change. Therefore, to obtain the most recent information regarding processing times, it is recommended to refer to the USCIS online processing time tool. Below are a few more examples of waiting periods:

– H-4 spouse, when applying for I-765 along with I-539 at California Service Center – 6 months

– F-1 academic student, when filing for I-765 renewal at Potomac Service Center – 2 months

– If you are admitted as a refugee and apply for I-765 renewal at Nebraska Service Center – 3.5 months

It’s to be noted that USCIS processes an EAD renewal similar to a normal EAD application, therefore, the work permit processing time relies highly on the processing center that it goes to along with the type of visa you hold. It’s advisable that you initiate the process six months prior to the expiration date mentioned on your EAD card, not after.

I-765 Filing Fee

In the event that you are seeking to obtain the renewal of your I-765, a filing fee in the amount of $410 is required. It is imperative that you make payment along with your form submission. Upon submitting your application, you will be given the option to complete your payment online using various payment methods including debit cards, credit cards, and bank transfers.

It is important to note that during the payment process, you must exercise caution to ensure that you do not fall victim to fraudulent activities. To this end, you are advised to verify the authenticity of the website address to ensure that you are on the official USCIS website and not on a fraudulent page.

I-765 Fee Waiver

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a payment waiver to some applicants who are unable to pay the filing fee for I-765. This exemption is usually granted based on economic or medical hardships. To request the I-765 filing fee exemption, you need to follow the official process by writing a letter to the USCIS, explaining the reasons for your request in detail.

You must also enclose copies of relevant documents to support your claim of financial hardship. Your letter should be in English and must be signed. Once you have completed the letter, you should mail it to the USCIS.

Please note that the USCIS may review your letter and ask for additional supporting evidence before confirming your I-765 filing fee waiver approval or denial. It is important to adhere to all the steps of the official process to ensure your request is given due consideration.

Submit the completed form

Upon completion of Form I-765, it is imperative to gather all the requisite supporting documents and arrange them together in a comprehensive manner. It is highly recommended to make a copy of the application documents for future reference. It is crucial to review all the fields and ensure that there are no unfilled areas as it can lead to the rejection of the application by the USCIS. It is also important to affix your signature on the form.

Next, the package should be sent via mail to the appropriate filing address, depending on your current state of residence and EAD eligibility category. For instance, applicants under the Asylees/Refugees category can submit their EAD renewals to the USCIS lockbox facilities in Dallas and Phoenix.

Similarly, L-2 spouses and B-1 immigrants under the employment-based nonimmigrants category should also mail their applications to the respective filing addresses based on their state of residence. It is advisable to check the complete list of EAD eligibility categories and their corresponding filing addresses to ensure that the I-765 application form is filed correctly.

After You Apply for EAD Renewal

After applying for the EAD renewal, there’s a list of steps awaiting your attention:

Receive Your New EAD Card within 90 Days

It will take you around 90 days to get your new EAD card that will bear your name, photograph, expiry date etc. Prior to receiving the card, you’ll be notified that it has been processed.

Request an Interim EAD Card

If your application is not decided by USCIS within the given time, you can opt for an Interim EAD Card. This document can be obtained at a USCIS office and is valid for 240 days. It is ideal to schedule an appointment at your nearby USCIS office before visiting. Moreover, carry a document that verifies your identity and the Receipt Notice that confirms your application’s pending status for more than 90 days.

Track Your EAD

Once your application is approved, your card will be printed and sent to you by USCIS via the US postal office. Each card comes with a tracking number that you can use to monitor its delivery status. If you need any help with tracking information, you can always reach out to the customer service department at USCIS.

EAD Validity

Generally, EADs are valid for one to two years, however, there’re few variations based on the category you’ve filed your application under.

After the expiration, you lose the eligibility to commence working as the legal employee. Hence, understanding the EAD renewal process becomes so gravely vital.

Work Permit Renewal FAQs

Answers to most asked questions are mentioned below:

What If My I-765 Employment Renewal Application Is Delayed?

Upon receipt of your application, USCIS will send you a confirmation notice via mail. This receipt should be kept safe as it will be required later. During the application process, USCIS may request that you appear in person at their application support center to have your biometrics taken. When appearing for the interview, please ensure that you bring along the appointment letter and application confirmation notice that was sent to you by USCIS.

You can also check the status of your application online while waiting for its completion. To access the status, kindly visit the USCIS website and enter your receipt number. Through consistent communication with USCIS, you will be informed of the estimated time for the approval of your work permit renewal.

However, if your EAD is being delayed after 90 days, you can contact USCIS to learn the reason for the delay and expedite the process. To avoid causing any delays in the first place, kindly review all requirements and supporting evidence in the application form to ensure that you have provided all requested evidence while filing.

What If My Work Permit Expires Before I Receive My Renewal?

With the immigration landscape in the US undergoing changes, the processing time for work permit renewals has been increasing on average. There’re several factors that influence the processing time of work permits. Waiting until the last minute to file for your renewal can be risky. Moreover, receiving your renewal after your work permit expires could put you at risk of losing your job or violating your nonimmigrant status.

The consequences of such an eventuality could be long-term, especially if you plan to adjust your status and obtain a green card or citizenship in the future. After filing your I-765, the USCIS should send you a notice that extends your EAD validity period by six months beyond its expiration date. It’s highly advisable to consult your immigration attorney to determine if you’ve more time than you think before your work permit expires.

What Happens If My EAD Renewal Application Is Denied?

USCIS sends a notice laying down the reason of a denial of your application. It can jeopardize your eligibility to work in the US. Therefore, it’s imperative to seek advice from an immigration lawyer on the further course of action.

However, similar to other immigration cases, you can file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. In short, you state that you seek USCIS to review your case again and consider new evidence to support your request. On the other hand, a motion to reconsider implies that you request USCIS to reconsider its decision based on an incorrect application of the law by the evaluating officer.

Regardless of the option you select, you must guarantee to provide sufficient supporting evidence. However, it’s noteworthy that the Administrative Appeals Office has the discretion to either uphold or reverse the case. Working with a proficient immigration attorney will assist you make an informed decision that heightens the possibilities of a successful application.


At, you can grab the opportunity to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who won’t leave your hand in the moment of crisis. We understand that obtaining visa doesn’t ensure work permit.

Therefore, we’ll be by your side till the end, reminding you about every relevant processes to sustain a good future and smooth stay in U.S.

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