FAQ for Employment Authorization Document

EAD card

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is much in demand when foreigners including international students, workers, and workers' spouses seek an opportunity to make a living in the U.S. There are different circumstances where you need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) depending on their status. A number of questions and concerns inevitably pop up, and this article addresses frequently asked questions relating to Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as well as a recent update on EAD policies. If you are waiting for a decision of your EAD application with a job offer, don't miss out on a chance to learn how to track your case at your fingertips!


1. What are the benefits of having an EAD?

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) provides a foreigner with a right to accept employment in the U.S. for a specific period of time, especially while the Adjustment of Status application is pending. This can be useful for an employee who wishes to work with an employer other than the H‐1B sponsor.


2. Can I apply for an EAD when I'm outside the U.S.?

No. EAD can only be filed from within the U.S. and is filed by the applicant.


3. Do I need a job offer to apply for an EAD?

No. Applicants do not need to have a job offer in order to obtain an EAD.


4. Can I change employers with an EAD?

Yes, USCIS Allows flexibility to change employer or work for multiple employers as the authorization is not employer specific.


5. Can applicants who did not apply for EAD concurrently With their application for Adjustment of Status apply later?

Applicants who did not file for EAD with their adjustment of status application may apply for EAD at the later date. A filing fee does not have to be included as it is already included in the fee for the AOS.


6. If I use the EAD for employment other than with my H-1B or L-1 sponsor, does this impact my family members’ status?

Yes. If the principal obtains an EAD card and uses it for employment apart from a sponsoring employer, he is no longer maintaining H-1B or L-1 status, and his failure to maintain his status means that any H‐4 or L‐2 dependents must also obtain Advance Parole, because they are no longer considered to be in H‐ 4/L‐2 status.


7. Why do I need to extend my H-1B or L-1 status now that I have my EAD?

Maintaining your H-1B or L-1 status can prevent gaps in employment authorization and ease travel outside the U.S. There is no grace period after an EAD expires. Therefore, if your EAD expires prior to the extension being received, you will need to cease working or traveling internationally until the new document is issued.


8. Can my family members also work using an EAD?

Yes. Spouses and minors may also obtain EADs and have the same right to accept employment in the U.S. while the AOS applications are pending.


9. Can I maintain H-1B or L-1 status if my family members use EADs?

Yes. There may be situations where the principal applicant who is in H-1B or L-1 status chooses not to apply for an EAD but his dependent family members do so and start work. The principal applicant can then reenter the U.S. by presenting a valid visa (or establishing exemption from the requirement) and the I‐485 fee receipt, but the H‐4 dependents and L‐2 children who use their EADs for employment must travel using Advance Parole.


10. How long is the processing time of EAD?

It varies depending on which visa type you fall under or which service center is processing your EAD application. On average, it ranges from 7 months to 11 months to process a H-4 spouse's EAD application.


How can I check the status of my EAD application?

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