Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, is the primary application form to request employment authorization in the United States. The form can also be used to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which you’ll need to present to your employer to demonstrate your ability to work in the United States.

Who Should File Form I-765?

Immigrants who are allowed to work in the United States but are required to apply for permission before accepting employment must file Form I-765 to receive employment authorization and an EAD. Generally speaking, this includes:

  • Immigrants with a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Immigrants with a pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
  • Individuals with nonimmigrant status that permits residency in the United States but requires permission from USCIS to accept employment (e.g. an M-1 or F-1 student)

Some immigrant categories inherently include employment authorization with the underlying immigrant status. This is referred to as “incident to status” employment authorization. Individuals in these categories don’t need to apply for employment authorization, but they may need to apply for an EAD to show their employer that they are authorized to work in the United States.

Eligibility Categories

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may file Form I-765 if you fall into one of the following categories:

Asylees and refuges
  1. Refugee – (a)(3) 
  2. Paroled as a Refugee – (a)(4)
  3. Asylee (granted asylum) – (a)(5)
  4. Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal – (a)(10) 
  5. Pending Asylum and Withholding of Removal Applicants and Applicants for Pending Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement – (c)(8)
Nationality-based status
  1. Citizen of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau – (a)(8)
  2. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) – (a)(11)
  3. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – (a)(12) & (c)(19)
  4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203 Applicants Who Are Eligible to Apply for NACARA Relief with USCIS – (c)(10)
  5. Dependent of TECRO E-1 Nonimmigrant – (c)(2)
F-1 Students Seeking OPT in a position directly related to major area of study
  1. Pre-Completion OPT – (c)(3)(A) 
  2. Post-Completion OPT – (c)(3)(B)
  3. 24-Month Extension for STEM Students (Students with a Degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) – (c)(3)(C) 
  4. F-1 Student Offered Off-Campus Employment Under the Sponsorship of a Qualifying International Organization – (c)(3)(ii)  
  5. F-1 Student Seeking Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship – (c)(3)(iii) 
  6. J-2 Spouse or Minor Child of an Exchange Visitor – (c)(5) 
  7. M-1 Student Seeking Post-Completion OPT After Completing Studies – (c)(6) 
Eligible dependents of employees of diplomatic missions, international organizations, or NATO
  1. Dependent of A-1 or A-2 Foreign Government Officials – (c)(1) 
  2. Dependent of G-1, G-3, or G-4 Nonimmigrant – (c)(4)
  3. Dependent of NATO-1 Through NATO-6 – (c)(7)
Employment-based nonimmigrant status
  1. B-1 Nonimmigrant Who Is the Personal or Domestic Servant of a Nonimmigrant Employer – (c)(17)(i) 
  2. B-1 Nonimmigrant Domestic Servant of a U.S. Citizen – (c)(17)(ii) 
  3. B-1 Nonimmigrant Employed by a Foreign Airline – (c)(17)(iii)
  4. Spouse of an E-1 Treaty Trader, E-2 Treaty Investor, or E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional from Australia – (a)(17)
  5. Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee – (a)(18)
  6. Spouse of an E-2 Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Investor – (c)(12)
  7. Spouse of an H-1B Nonimmigrant – (c)(26)
  8. Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition Facing Compelling Circumstances – (c)(35)
  9. Spouse or Unmarried Child of a Principal Beneficiary of an Approved Employment-Based Immigrant Petition – (c)(36)
Family-based nonimmigrant status
  1. K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé of U.S. Citizen or K-2 Dependent – (a)(6)
  2. K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of U.S. Citizen or K-4 Dependent – (a)(9)
  3. Family Unity Program – (a)(13)
  4. LIFE Family Unity – (a)(14)
  5. V-1, V-2, or V-3 Nonimmigrant – (a)(15)
Adjustment of status 
  1. Adjustment Applicant under Section 245 – (c)(9)
  2. Registry Applicant Based on Continuous Residence Since January 1, 1972 – (c)(16)
  3. Renewal EAD for National Interest Waiver Physicians
Other categories
  1. Legalization Temporary Resident Pursuant to INA Sections 245A or 210 – (a)(2)
  2. N-8 or N-9 Nonimmigrant – (a)(7)
  3. Applicant for Cancellation of Removal – (c)(10)
  4. Applicant for Legalization Pursuant to INA Section 210 – (c)(20)
  5. Applicant for Legalization Pursuant to INA Section 245A – (c)(22)
  6. Parole – (c)(11)
  7. Deferred Action – (c)(14)
  8. Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – (c)(33).
  9. Final Order of Deportation or Removal, including Deferral of Removal under the Convention Against Torture – (c)(18)
  10. LIFE Legalization Applicant – (c)(24)
  11. T-1 Nonimmigrant – (a)(16)
  12. T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, or T-6 Nonimmigrant – (c)(25)
  13. T Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status – (c)(9)
  14. U-1 Nonimmigrant – (a)(19)
  15. U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 – (a)(20)
  16. U Nonimmigrant Adjustment of Status – (c)(9)
  17. VAWA Self-Petitioners – (c)(31)
  18. A-3 or G-5 Nonimmigrant – (c)(14)

Who Should Not Use Form I-765

Lawful permanent residents, conditional permanent residents, and nonimmigrants who are authorized for employment with a specific employer should not use Form I-765.

Filing Fee

Form I-765 carries a $410 filing fee that can be paid via personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. If you include Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, you may also pay by credit card. If you choose to pay by credit card, you’ll have to submit the packet to a USCIS lockbox facility because service centers cannot process credit card payments.

In addition to the standard filing fee, there are three eligibility categories that are required to pay an $85 biometric services fee—(c)(33), (c)(35), and (c)(36). For all other eligibility categories, the biometric services fee is waived.

If you cannot afford the filing fee or otherwise qualify for an exemption, you can request a fee waiver with Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. For a full list of eligibility requirements, see the USCIS fee waiver information web page.


Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

Schedule Your Consultation

Fill out the form below to get your consultation and discuss your best legal options.