Why File Form I-765?

Form I-765 is an immigration application used to give you employment authorization. It is filed by foreigners who are currently in the U.S. requesting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), otherwise known as a work permit. This EAD is the legal proof that you have been authorized to work in the U.S. There are many who have been permitted to work in the U.S. without any limitations based on their immigration status. To document that, they can file Form I-765. Every EAD is issued for a particular period of time depending on the immigration status of the individual.

People tend to mistake an EAD with a green card. Having a green card means you are a Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S. You can get an EAD while your green card getting processed. So, in some circumstances, you can legally work before actually becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident. Foreign workers who come to the U.S. temporarily for seasonal work can also get an EAD.

An EAD is not actually a document. It more resembles a credit card that is plastic. This card has the latest layers of security coding to prevent manipulation or duplication. This card will have your basic information such as your name, date of birth, sex, immigrant category, country you were born, photograph, ARN or the Alien Registration Number, number of the card and the date through which the card is valid. It also will have the terms and conditions.

EADs are issued under the following categories

Initial EAD: First-time eligible applicants grouped under a specific category will be issued this EAD.

Renewal EAD: Applicants who were already issued an EAD that expired will be issued this EAD. Please note that you cannot file more than 120 days before your actual EAD expires.

Replacement EAD: Applicants who were already issued an EAD but was lost, stolen, damaged, or has some errors (for example, misspelled name) will be issued this EAD.

You can use form I-765 if you belong to the following categories:

  1. Asylee/Refugee and their spouses and/or children
  2. Nationality categories
  3. Foreign students
  4. Eligible dependents of diplomatic missions, international organizations, or NATO.
  5. Employment-based nonimmigrant categories
  6. Family-based nonimmigrants
  7. Adjustment of status categories
  8. Some other categories

You should not file form I-765 if you are:

  1. Lawful permanent resident
  2. Conditional resident
  3. Nonimmigrant with specific employment authorization through form 8 CFR 274a.12(b).


Make sure your application is signed and filed properly. Note that USCIS will never accept a stamped or typewritten name instead of your signature. If you are under14 years of age, your parent or legal guardian can sign the application on your behalf. If the person is deemed mentally incompetent, a legal guardian can sign on his/her behalf.

Filing Fee

You have to pay a filing fee of $410. In addition to this, you need to pay an $85 biometrics services fee, taking the total to $495. The biometrics fee is needed only if you are filing under the following categories:

  • Request for consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • You are a beneficiary of an approved employment-based petition and you are facing compelling circumstances; or
  • A spouse or unmarried dependent child of a beneficiary of an employment-based petition who is facing compelling situations.

For other categories not mentioned above, there is no biometric services fee.

Mode of payment

  • Money order
  • Personal check, or
  • Cashier’s check

When you are making your payment through check or money order, make sure it is drawn on a bank or other financial institution that is located in the U.S. Also, it has to be payable in U.S. Currency. It has to be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. An important point to note is that you have to spell out U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Avoid using initials “USDHS” or “DHS.”

If you are filing at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you also have the option to use your credit card for making your payment. For this, you have to use Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. However, you cannot pay through your credit card at service centers. If your payment is through check, it has to be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The filing fee may be waived for certain individuals.

If you are paying by check

If you choose this option to make your payment, make sure you note down the details mentioned earlier. Once you send your check, USCIS will convert it into an electronic funds transfer (EFT), which means they will copy your check and use the account information on it and your account will be electronically debited for the amount mentioned in the check. It normally will take 24 hours for your account to get debited and it will be reflected on your regular account statement.

USCIS will not send your original check back. They will destroy your original check. However, they will retain a copy of it. If USCIS is not able to process the EFT due to certain reasons, you have to authorize them to process the copy instead of your original check. If your check is returned as unpayable, USCIS will submit the payment again to the financial institution. If the same gets repeated, where the check is returned as unpayable for the second time, your application will be rejected and they will charge you a returned check fee.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Applicants

If you are an initial TPS applicant and requesting an EAD, you have to pay the Form I-765 filing fee mentioned earlier. If you are below 14 years of age or above 65 years of age, you may not need to pay the fee. TPS beneficiaries requesting an EAD when filing for TPS re-registration will have to pay the Form I-765 filing fee, immaterial of their age.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Applicants coming under this category are required to pay the $85 biometric services fee. This fingerprinting fee and the filing fee for this application cannot be waived.

Biometric Services Fee

Initially, when you are filing your application, you need not send the biometric fee. Should you need to submit your fingerprints, you will be notified by the USCIS with instructions on how to go about it.

If you do not have a particular document required by the USCIS, you have to prove this and furnish secondary evidence. In the event you are not able to provide the secondary evidence either, you have to prove that you are not able to produce both the documents and submit two or more sworn affidavits by persons not mentioned in your application who have direct knowledge of the event and circumstances.

Fee Waiver

If you cannot afford the filing fee, see if you are eligible for a fee waiver. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you have to file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver (or a written request). File this application along with the necessary evidence that you are not able to pay the filing fee with this application.

Biometric Services Appointment

A biometric appointment will be scheduled for almost all the applicants filing immigration forms in the U.S. You will be notified by the USCIS to appear for an interview or provide biometrics (fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature) to prove your identity. This is also done to get more information about you and to conduct background and security checks that will include a check of criminal history records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In cases where you are required to give your fingerprinting, you must sign an oath assuring that

  1. You provided all the information in the application,
  2. You understood all the information contained/submitted with your application, and
  3. All the information you provided was complete, true, and correct during filing.

It is important to remember that USCIS will reject your application if you do not attend your biometric services appointment.


As part of the procedure, you have to submit all evidence and supporting documents required while submitting your application. You have to include copies of some of the documents that USCIS requests. At times they might request you to submit original documents. They might request this at the time of filing or at any time during the application processing. However, if they ask for an original document from you, they will return it to you after they no longer need it. NOTE: If you submit a document that was not requested by them, they may destroy it once they receive it. Documents in a foreign language should be translated into English. It has to be translated by a competent person for which he/she has to sign a certification about the translation being correct to the best of the competent translator’s ability.

Initial processing

The process goes like this. After you file your application and USCIS accepts it, they will check if you have completed your application fully. If you fail to completely fill out your application, USCIS may deny your application.

Requests for More Information and Interview

Once the initial processing is over, USCIS might ask you to furnish more information or evidence to support your case. They will inform you in writing if you are supposed to attend a biometric services appointment. Should you need to attend, you will get a notice that will have all the details such as the location of your local or designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) and the date and time you need to appear. If you are outside the U.S., you will be instructed to contact a U.S. Embassy, Consulate or USCIS office abroad to schedule an appointment.

If the situation demands, you might be asked to provide original documents. Should such need arise, USCIS will return your original documents after they conclude that they no longer need your original. During the time of your interview or other appearance at a USCIS office, you might be asked to provide your biometrics to verify your identity and/or update background and security checks.


The final decision on your I-765 application will depend on if you have firmly established your eligibility for the immigration benefit you are requesting. You will be informed of this decision by the USCIS in writing. If the USCIS is satisfied with your case, they will approve your application. If it is approved, they will either send your new EAD to you or they may ask you to visit your local USCIS office to pick it up. In case the USCIS is cannot approve your application, they will write to you explaining why your application was denied.


If you purposely hide any material fact or include a false document with your I-765 application, the USCIS will reject your I-765 application which will result in your immigration benefit getting denied. Also note that you will be subjected to severe penalties under the law and you might be subject to criminal prosecution as well.

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