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  • Step-by-Step Guide on How to File for an EAD




    Download the Following Form:

    > I-765

    The above form can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date it as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov.

    Select Visa Type:

    o K-1 Visa Holder
    o K-3 Visa Holder

    >>K-1 Visa Holder Guide <<


    When you can File:
    1. Immediately, before filing for AOS. As a K-1 visa holder you are technically eligible to file for an EAD immediately when you arrive. However, this EAD will expire when you K-1 expires (90 days) and because of this and the wait time (>90 days) it is a waste of both time and money to bother applying. You will file as category (a)(6), "Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizen". (Where to file: mail, efile, walk-in -- only if local office allows)
    2. At the same time as filing for AOS. As a K-1 holder filing for Adjustment of Status (AOS) you are eligible to file for an EAD at the same time. Your EAD packet can be filing along with your AOS packet and mailed together. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail only - with AOS packet)
    3. After filing for AOS. If you did not file for your EAD at the same time as filing your AOS packet, you may still apply for an EAD. You will however need proof of having filed for AOS. This is typically in the form of a "notice of action" or physical receipt from the office you filed at stating that they received your AOS packet. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail, walk-in if allowable, efile)
    4. Renewing your EAD (assuming you filed for AOS). You may renew your EAD when your EAD nears expiration. You must renew your EAD to be able to work until you become a Permanent Resident (or Conditional Permanent Resident) at which time your "Green Card" will be proof of eligibility to work. A suggestion before filing is to check the processing time currently for EAD's and file at a time equal to the number of days before your EAD expires. ex: if the processing time is three months then apply for a renewal three months before your EAD expires. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail, walk-in if allowable, efile)

    Assembling the EAD Package: Checklist for a K-1 Applicant

    1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees.
    Note: Applicants filing for this benefit at the same time or while an Adjustment of Status (I-485) application is pending are not required to pay any fee as it was included in the "total cost" of the I-485.
    2. Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization properly filed out with correct filing category selected (see example for AOS applicants (c)(9))
    3. If Filing as a category (a)(6), K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizen then:
    3a. Copy of evidence of admission such as an Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of a valid paper I-94 (front and back of form), passport, and K-1 Visa. Use as many of these as possible (I-94 is required); including a copy of the K-1 is recommended. Make clear copies.
    3b. A copy of your last EAD (front and back) if any
    3c. Two passport-type Photo's (see specification)
    4. If Filing as a category (c)(9), Adjustment Applicant then:
    4a. Copy of the receipt notice or other evidence that your Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence, is pending. If filing at the same time as AOS (in the same package) then you do not need to provide proof of filing (how could you)!
    4b. Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of a valid paper I-94 (front and back of form)
    4c. A copy of your last EAD (front and back) if any
    4d. Two passport-type photo's (see specification)

    IMPORTANT!
    Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence.


    Mail to:
    Category (a)(6): Your CIS Service Center (see this page to find your Service Center).
    Category (c)(9): Part 5 of the I-765 instructions lists where you should file (in this case the Chicago Lockbox).

    *E-Filing.... go here and follow the directions! Filing on category (c)(9) only.



    >> K-3 Visa Holder Guide <<

    When you can File:
    1. While holding a valid K-3 (not yet applied for AOS). As a valid K-3 visa holder you may apply for an EAD based solely on this status. You will apply as a category (a)(9), K3 non-immigrant spouse. (Where: by mail -- to the correct Service Center based on where you live)
    2. At the same time as filing for AOS. As a K-3 holder filing for Adjustment of Status (AOS) you are eligible to file for an EAD at the same time. Your EAD packet can be filing along with your AOS packet and mailed together. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail , walk-in if allowable)
    3. After filing for AOS. If you did not file for your EAD at the same time as filing your AOS packet, you may still apply for an EAD. You will however need proof of having filed for AOS. This is typically in the form of a "notice of action" or physical receipt from the office you filed at stating that they received your AOS packet. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail, walk-in if allowable, efile)
    4. Renewing your EAD (assuming you filed for AOS). You may renew your EAD when your EAD nears expiration. You must renew your EAD to be able to work until you become a Permanent Resident (or Conditional Permanent Resident) at which time your "Green Card" will be proof of eligibility to work. A suggestion before filing is to check the processing time currently for EAD's and file at a time equal to the number of days before your EAD expires. ex: if the processing time is three months then apply for a renewal three months before your EAD expires. You will file as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant". (Where to file: mail, walk-in if allowable, efile)

    Assembling the EAD Package: Checklist for a K-3 Applicant

    1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees.
    Note: Applicants filing for this benefit at the same time or while an Adjustment of Status (I-485) application is pending are not required to pay any fee as it was included in the "total cost" of the I-485.
    2. Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization properly filed out with correct filing category selected (see example for AOS applicants (c)(9))
    3. If Filing as a category (a)(9), K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of U.S. Citizen then:
    3a. Copy of evidence of admission such as an Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of a valid paper I-94 (front and back of form), passport, and K-3 Visa. Use as many of these as possible (I-94 is required); including a copy of the K-3 is recommended. Make clear copies.
    3b. A copy of your last EAD (front and back) if any
    3c. Two passport-type photo's (see specification)
    4. If Filing as a category (c)(9), Adjustment Applicant then:
    4a. Copy of the receipt notice or other evidence that your Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence, is pending. If filing at the same time as AOS (in the same package) then you do not need to provide proof of filing (how could you)!
    4b. Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of a valid paper I-94 (front and back of form)
    4c. A copy of your last EAD (front and back) if any
    4d. Two passport-type photo's (see specification)

    IMPORTANT!
    Make a copy of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. Retain ALL originals -- send copies of original documents. The USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back.


    Mail EAD Packet to:
    Category (a)(9): Correct Service Center based on where you live
    Category (c)(9): Part 5 of the I-765 instructions lists where you should file (in this case the Chicago Lockbox).

    *E-Filing.... go here and follow the directions! Filing on category (c)(9) only.



    These are the basic steps required by eligible applicant. These steps should be followed as a guideline and not as specific requirements for any given case. Every case is unique and this does not address that uniqueness.
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