The Complete Guide to USCIS Form I-765

Created: Jul 1, 2024 | Updated: Jul 1, 2024

Have you ever heard of the American Dream – the idea that hard work and determination can lead to success? Form I-765 is your key to turning that dream into reality by allowing you to work legally in the U.S. 

This article will explain what Form I-765 is used for, who is eligible to file it, and the filing costs involved. We'll also cover essential tips for completing the form and ensuring your documents are in order. 

Table of Contents

What is Form I-765?

Form I-765


Form I-765 is a document filed by eligible foreigners to request an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) or U.S. work permit. Other non-U.S. citizens whose immigration status already permits them to work legally in the U.S. without restrictions may also use Form I-765 to apply for an EAD to prove their work authorisation. These include asylum seekers and those waiting for family or employment-based green cards or holding specific temporary visas.

Who may file Form I-765?

  • Asylees and Refugees: People with asylum or refugee status in the U.S., including their spouses and children.
  • Certain Nationalities: These include citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and people with special statuses like Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Foreign Students: Specific students, like F-1 students wanting to work (OPT), and dependents of J-1 or M-1 students.
  • Dependents of Diplomats and International Workers: including family members of foreign government officials, international organisation workers, and NATO personnel.
  • Family-Based Nonimmigrants: including fiancé(e)s and spouses of U.S. citizens, people under the Family Unity Program, and those with V status.

How much does it cost to file Form I-765?

Form I-765 has different filing fees depending on your application category and chosen filing method. We’ve provided a clear breakdown of the filing fees in the table below: 

Filing CategoryPaper FilingOnline Filing
General Filing$520$470
Pending Form I-765 (filed on or after April 1, 2024)$260$260
Special Asylum-Based Adjustment of Status for Certain Classes of Applicants (ABC) Procedures (initial EAD for asylum applicants with Form I-589)$520$470
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Applicants$520$470
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants$520$470

Certain Form I-1765 filing categories have no fees. They include:

  • EAD replacements due to USCIS errors.
  • Special first-time EAD applications, such as asylum applicants not using ABC procedures and those affected by family separations at the U.S. border.
  • Renewal EADs and replacements due to lost, stolen or damaged cards (terms and conditions apply). 

How to fill Form I-765

Filling out Form I-765 requires attention to detail. Here's a concise guide to help you:

  1. Personal Information: Provide your full name, address, and other details.
  2. Eligibility Category: Indicate the category under which you are applying.
  3. Previous EADs: If you have had prior work permits, include details about them.
  4. Signature: Ensure you sign and date the form as the USCIS will only accept signed forms.

Endeavour to answer every question completely and accurately. If a question doesn't apply to you, like questions about a spouse when you're not married, write "N/A." For questions asking for numbers (like children or times you've left the U.S.), write "None" if the answer is zero unless instructed otherwise.

How to fill Form I-765


What supporting documents do I need to file Form I-765?

When you file Form I-765, there are certain documents you require to support your application. These include:

  1. The required filing fee for your application category (if applicable).
  2. Your signed Form I-765 application. 
  3. A copy of at least one of these documents: 
    a. Form I-94 (front and back)
    b. An electronic printout of your Form I-94
    c. Your passport or another valid travel document.
  4. A copy of your previous EAD (front and back) or a government-issued ID clearly showing your photo, name, and birthdate if this is your first EAD application. 
  5. Two recent, identical colour passport-style photos with a white or off-white background. They must be unmounted and unedited, each measuring two by two inches.

You can find specific details on required documentation based on category in the USCIS checklist.

How can Translayte help you  

If your supporting documents are not in English, you must provide USICS certified translations. Ensure the translations are accurate and the translator includes a certification statement verifying their competence in both languages. Translayte can assist you with this critical step. Our translation experts are versed in USCIS requirements and will deliver accurate, compliant translations for your Form I-765 application.

Where to file Form I-765

The filing location for the I-765 form can vary depending on your specific eligibility category and the instructions provided by USCIS. Generally, you will need to submit your application to the appropriate USCIS service centre or lockbox facility. Be sure to carefully review the current filing instructions on the USCIS website or consult with an immigration professional to ensure you are sending your I-765 application to the correct address.

You can get an email or text message to confirm when the USCIS receives your form at a USCIS lockbox. Simply complete Form G-1145 (E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance) and attach it to the first page of your Form 1-765 before submitting your documents.

How long does it take to get Form I-765 approved?

The processing time for Form I-765 can vary significantly based on your eligibility category and the current USCIS workload. On average, it can take anywhere from three to nine months. Sometimes, the USCIS might request you to provide more information (called a Request for Evidence or RFE), which could add 60 to 90 days to the process. Always check the USCIS website for the current processing times.

What happens after Form I-765 is approved?

Once your application is approved, USCIS will process your EAD card and mail it to you via USPS Priority Mail within two weeks. Ensure your mailing address is up-to-date with both USCIS and USPS as failing to do so could lead to delays or even lost documents. 

You can expect to receive your EAD card within 30 days of approval, accounting for USPS transit time. While waiting, you can track the shipment using the USPS tracking number available through USCIS Case Status Online. If it doesn't arrive within 30 days, visit the e-Request portal to submit an inquiry.

Why is my Form I-765 approval taking so long?

Several reasons may cause delays in getting your Form I-765 approved. These include:

  • A high volume of applications with the USCIS.
  • An incomplete application.
  • Additional security checks.
  • Requests for further evidence by the USCIS.

What happens if my Form I-765 application is denied?

If USCIS denies your application, it’s usually because they couldn’t verify your identity, you didn’t establish your eligibility, or you abandoned the application. They will typically send you a letter explaining why your application was denied. 

If you think the denial was a mistake, you can file a motion to reopen, reconsider, or appeal the decision. However, it’s advisable to carefully review the denial reasons and consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to see if this is a good option for you and to assess your chances of success. 

What happens after I file Form I-765?

Generally, you can expect the following to happen once you successfully file your form: 

  1. The USCIS receives your application and assigns it a special tracking number.
  2. They'll send you a receipt notice confirming they've received your paperwork. This will have the tracking number and information on how to check your processing status online.
  3. The USCIS might request more evidence or documentation to process your application.
  4. They may also request that you attend a biometrics appointment where you’ll submit your fingerprints, photos, and signatures.
  5. Finally, the USCIS will review your application and decide whether to approve or deny your employment authorisation request.
  6. If approved, they'll send you an EAD that lets you work legally in the U.S. for a specific period.

How to file Form I-765 online

  1. Review the instructions for online filing on the USCIS website
  2. Gather the required documents and create your USCIS online account.
  3. Login to your account and click "myUSCIS," select "I am an applicant, petitioner, or requester" and then "File a Form Online."
  4. Complete the form, taking care to fill out all the required sections.
  5. Submit the required documentation (listed earlier).
  6. Review for errors, correct any if found and submit your application. Pay the online filing fee via credit card, debit card or bank transfer. 
  7. After payment, you’ll see a confirmation screen. Save your receipt number to track your case status.

FAQs about Form I-765

Can I travel while my form I-765 approval is pending?

Yes, you can travel while your Form I-765 is pending if your current immigration status permits it. However, leaving the U.S. could affect your application, especially if you’re in the process of changing your status. If you must travel before getting your work permit, it's important to consult with an immigration lawyer to understand the potential risks involved.

Do I need to file Form I-765 if I have an H-1B visa?

If you have an H-1B visa, you can apply for Employment Authorization using Form I-765 while your adjustment of status is pending. Unlike the H-1B visa, the Employment Authorization granted through Form I-765 is not tied to a specific job or employer. This means you have more flexibility to work in different jobs.

Can I work while my Form I-765 is pending?

No, you cannot legally work in the U.S. while your Form I-765 is pending except you have another valid work authorisation.

Can I file I-130, I-485 and I-765 together?

You can concurrently file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), and Form I-765. This is often done to streamline the process and obtain work authorisation while your adjustment of status application is pending.

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