Updated: Jan 31
Form i-765 is the form that you need to fill and submit to the USCIS if you are applying for a work permit to work in the United States. Not everyone can fill this form and expect to get a work permit or Employment Authorization Document. Only non-immigrants eligible to work in the United States based on their Visa type can fill in the application for work permit.
Check out our detailed Guide on Work Permit and Eligible categories for it.
What is i-765:
According to the USCIS website, “Certain aliens who are in the United States may file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Other aliens whose immigration status authorizes them to work in the United States without restrictions may also use Form I-765 to apply to USCIS for an EAD that shows such authorization”.
Here's a link to download the form:
Eligibility or Who may file form i-765?
Based on the immigration status of the applicant, THE EAD card is issued for a given period of time. Once granted, applicants may legally work anywhere in the U.S. for any employer and without them having to file a non-immigrant worker petition. You may apply for an EAD by filling the form i-765 if you belong to any of the following visa qualifying categories:
K-1, K-2 or K-3
L-1 spouses under the category a18
Asylee and Refugee
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipient
Applicant waiting for Adjustment of Status
H1 Spouses under certain circumstances (i.e. when their spouse has an i140 approved). Category is c26
For a complete list of eligibility and type please use this link: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765Checklist.
You’ll need to refer it to identify your category and use it while completing the form. For example, if you are an H4 applying for an EAD your category would be: (c)(26). If you an L2, your category would be (a) (18). If you are a student on F-1 visa your category would be: (c)(3)(A)/(B)/(C).
Steps or How to File form i-765?
Below are the steps outlined to fill the i-765 form:
Part 1 – Reason for Applying
In this section, select “Initial Permission to Accept Employment” if you ae applying for the first time.
If you are applying to renew your work permit, select “Renewal of my permission to accept employment”.
If your applying because you have lost or damaged it or if there was an error in the one given to you before select b.
Part 2 – Information About You
Item 1: Type your family/last name in CAPITAL LETTERS. Your first and middle name can be typed in standard name form with the first letter capitalized and the remaining letters lowercase.
Items 2-4: Enter any other names used, such as nicknames or maiden names. If you have not used any other names, enter N/A in each blank field.
Items 5-7: US Mailing Address
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Listing an invalid address can cause serious delays in receiving your EAD. You may NOT use a P.O. Box. USPS will not forward mail sent by USCIS. If you are moving within the next 4 months, you should not use your current mailing address; instead, use the address of a trusted friend or relative who is not moving and can receive the EAD for you.
If you enter any address other than your physical address, such as the ISSS address, for your mailing address, check no on question six.
If your address changes at any time after you submit Form I-765, you should immediately notify USCIS of the change. Report your change of address to USCIS on-line at
https://egov.uscis.gov/coa/displayCOAForm.do or by calling the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283. The U.S. Postal Service does not forward government mail.
Item 8: If you have previously applied for an EAD card through USCIS, you will have an A number, also known as a USCIS number. This number can be found on the receipt notice from your previous EAD card, as well as on the EAD card. It is the number that does NOT start with three letters.
Item 12: If you have previously applied for an EAD card (previous OPT or off campus work authorization), check yes and enclose copies of all your previous EAD cards, as well as the I-20s showing the OPT recommendations or approvals.
Items 13-17: If you have a social security number in the U.S, check “yes” and enter your social security number in 13b.
As you already have a social security number, you do not need a card, so then check “no” on question 14 and enter N/A in fields 16 and 17.
If you do not have a social security number, check no on 13a and complete all questions from 13 through 17.
Items 18-20: Fill them exactly as it is mentioned in your passport.
Item 21a: Electronic I-94—Enter the Admission (I-94) Record Number from your electronic I-94 downloaded from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. Paper I-94-- Enter the complete number found on the upper left corner of your paper I-94 card.
Item 22: Enter the date of your last entry to the U.S. This will most likely be the date indicated on your I-94 unless you travelled to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands for less than 30 days and did not obtain a new I-94.
Item 23: Enter the city and state where you last passed through U.S. Customs.
Item 24: Immigration Status at Your Last Arrival. Provide the letter and number that correlates with your status when you last entered the United States. For example, if you last entered the United States as a temporary visitor for pleasure, B-2, type or print “B-2 visitor” in the space provided.
Item 25. Your Current Immigration Status or Category. Provide your current immigration status. For example, if your current status is student academic, F-1, type or print “F-1 student” in the space provided.
Item 26: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number (if any). If you were issued a SEVIS number, enter it in the space provided.
Item 27: Eligibility Category. Refer to the list of the eligibility categories in the Who May File Form I-765 section of these Instructions. Find your eligibility category and enter it in the space provided.
Item 28. - 28.c. (c)(3)(C) STEM OPT Eligibility Category. If you entered eligibility category (c)(3)(C) in
Item 27: provide your degree level and major (for example, Bachelor’s degree in English), your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify, your employer’s E-Verify Company Identification Number, or a valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number in the spaces provided.
Item 29: (c)(26) Eligibility Category. If you entered eligibility category (c)(26) in Item 27., provide the receipt number of your spouse’s most recent Form I-797 Notice for Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, in the space provided.
Item 30: (c)(8) Eligibility Category. If you entered the eligibility category (c)(8) in Item Number 27., provide an answer to the question “Have you have EVER been arrested for and/or convicted of any crime?” If you answered “Yes” to Item Number 30., refer to Special Filing Instructions for Those With Pending Asylum Applications (c)(8) in the Required Documentation section of the Instructions for information about providing court dispositions.
Item 31.a. - 31.b: (c)(35) and (c)(36) Eligibility Category. If you entered the eligibility category (c)(35) or (c)(36) in Item Number 27., please provide the receipt number of your Form I-797 Notice for Form I-140 or the receipt number of your spouse’s or parent’s Form I-797 Notice for Form I-140. Provide an answer to the question “Have you EVER been arrested for and/or convicted of any crime?”
Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature
Item 1.a. - 7.b: Select the appropriate box to indicate whether you read this application yourself or whether you had an interpreter assist you. If someone assisted you in completing the application, select the box indicating that you used a preparer. Further, you must sign and date your application and provide your daytime telephone number, mobile telephone number (if any), and email address (if any). Every application MUST contain the signature of the applicant (or parent or legal guardian, if applicable). A stamped or typewritten name in place of a signature is not acceptable.
Part 4. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
Item 1.a. - 7.b: If you used anyone as an interpreter to read the Instructions and questions on this application to you in a language in which you are fluent, the interpreter must fill out this section; provide his or her name, the name and address of his or her business or organization (if any), his or her daytime telephone number, his or her mobile telephone number (if any), and his or her email address (if any). The interpreter must sign and date the application.
Part 5. Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Application, if Other Than the Applicant
Item 1.a. - 8.b: This section must contain the signature of the person who completed your application, if other than you, the applicant. If the same individual acted as your interpreter and your preparer, that person should complete both Part 4. and Part 5. If the person who completed this application is associated with a business or organization, that person should complete the business or organization name and address information.
Anyone who helped you complete this application MUST sign and date the application. A stamped or typewritten name in place of a signature is not acceptable. If the person who helped you prepare your application is an attorney or accredited representative, he or she may also need to submit a completed Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, along with your application.
Part 6. Additional Information
Item 1.a. - 7.d: If you need extra space to provide any additional information within this application, use the space provided in Part 6. Additional Information. If you need more space than what is provided in Part 6., you may make copies of Part 6. to complete and file with your application or attach a separate sheet of paper. Type or print your name and A-Number (if any) at the top of each sheet; indicate the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number to which your answer refers; and sign and date each sheet
i-765 Processing time:
Earlier it used to take around 5-7 months for USCIS to process work permit. Before that it used to be processed within 90 days but due a growing backlog, there’s a delay in most applications and these days it's taking anywhere between 8-12 months and sometimes even longer.
What is the filing fee?
The filing fee for the US work permit costs 410 USD. In addition to that, you might also need to pay an extra 85 USD for biometric services. Some applicants might be exempt from paying the fees in specific cases.
NOTE: The filing fee is not refundable, regardless of any action USCIS takes on this application. DO NOT MAIL CASH. You must submit all fees in the exact amounts.
You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. When filing at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you may also pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Please note that service centers are not able to process credit card payments.
Payments by Credit Card
If you are filing your form at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you can pay your filing fee and biometric services fee (if applicable) using a credit card. Please see Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, at www.uscis.gov/G-1450 for more information.
Where to File?
Refer to this link to find out where to send your application along with the required documents. https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses
I-765 is the form you need to fill to apply for a work permit in USA
Please check your eligibility and the category under which you are applying for the work permit. The link for the same is here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765Checklist
Follow the instructions carefully and fill the form
Fill the filing fees and biometric fees
Send the form to the address