An immigrant must obtain legal authorization to work in the United States. Employment Authorization Documents are issued to eligible applicants who submit form I-766 by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. EADs must be renewed prior to the date of expiration in order to continue legally working in the country.
An EAD is valid for two years from the date it was originally issued. An application to renew employment authorization should be submitted to USCIS no earlier than 120 days prior to the date on which the EAD expires. File the application in a timely manner, as processing times for form I-765 may take up to three months, depending on categorical eligibility and the service center processing the application.
USCIS form I-765 is used to apply for an original EAD as well as to renew an employment authorization document. Forms are available online at the USCIS website to download and print, or may be requested through the mail by calling USCIS at 800-870-3676. If the date listed on the bottom-right corner of the form is more than 30 days old, confirm with USCIS that it is the most recent version available.
Completing the Application for Renewal
The application must be completed in blue or black ink in order to be scanned properly. Applicants must provide all required information including full name, current address, country of origin, place and date of birth and marital status. An alien registration or I-94 number should be provided if applicable. Include the date the current EAD was issued and the office from which the document was issued. Categorical eligibility is identified by a letter and number as listed in the form instructions, and must be entered on the application. Incomplete applications may be returned or denied.
Applicants must submit several supporting documents along with the completed application, including a copy of the front and back of the current EAD and form I-94. Two copies of a 2-by-2-inch photo must also be furnished. The photograph must clearly show the applicant's face on a white background and be taken within 30 days of the date of application. Additional documentation may be required according to categorical eligibility as listed on the form instructions.
As of July 2011, the fee for renewal of an EAD is $380. Checks or money orders should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants who are renewing employment authorization under specific categorical eligibility are exempt from the filing fee, including citizens of Micronesia,the Marshall Islands and Palau; applicants granted withholding of deportation; dependents of certain foreign officials and applicants who filed for an adjustment of status after July 2007. A fee waiver may be granted when household income is less than 150 percent of federal poverty level or financial hardship is proven. Form I-912 is used for fee waiver requests, and it must be submitted with the application for employment authorization in lieu of payment.
Sending the Renewal Application
The completed EAD application, supporting documents and fee or fee waiver request should be mailed to the appropriate service center as listed on the form instructions. The destination address can also be verified by calling USCIS Customer Service at 800-375-5283.
A letter will be sent confirming receipt of the application for renewal and should be retained for future reference. Additional documentation or original documents may be requested by mail. Applicants may also be required to appear for an interview or a biometrics appointment to update fingerprints on file longer than 15 months. Be sure to bring the appointment letter and any other pertinent documents to the scheduled appointment.
Status of Pending Application
The USCIS provides case status updates online. Applicants can view the status of pending cases at the USCIS website by entering the receipt number noted on the confirmation letter. Electronic notifications are also available by email or text for applicants who register for this service.