What is EAD - The Complete Guide to US Work Authorization| North Loop Official Blog
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18 Nov 2020

What is EAD - The Complete Guide to US Work Authorization

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Introduction -

The US has strict laws, and if you want to work there on a visa, you will need an EAD or an Employment Authorization Document. In this article, we will tell you what an EAD card is and the differences between an EAD card and a green card.

What is EAD card?

So what is EAD card? If you have been wondering about EAD card meaning, then let us tell you that it is nothing but a document that grants you authorization and right to work in the US. This employment authorization card has a temporary lifespan and is usually valid for one year. However, this can vary for some visa holders. Also, if you hold an EAD card and wish to continue working in the US, you need to renew it before its expiry. One other thing that you should understand is that the employment authorization card only allows you to work in the US and is not a replacement of your visa or green card. The latter is pivotal to your entry and residency in the US. Now that you know EAD card meaning, let us move to the differences between EAD and the green card.

Differences between an EAD Card and a Green Card -

The EAD does not make you eligible to enter the US. Its sole use is to grant you the right to be employed in the US. But what is the EAD visa? Some people also refer to this card as EAD visa because the eligibility to get an EAD is primarily dependent on the status of your visa. If you do not have that or any other document in place of it authorizing you to live in the country, you cannot get the EAD card. That is the reason EAD visa is a commonly used term and mainly refers to the work permit card that you get after procuring a visa. Now that we have understood what is EAD visa, let us find out the role of a green card.

A green card gives you the right to reside in the US and is only valid for a temporary period. However, it can get renewed if your application is successful. To apply for EAD, it is mandatory that you already possess a green card.

Who Qualifies for EAD?

The eligibility for getting an EAD card depends on several factors. Moreover, even if you are eligible for application, there is no guarantee that you will get it because there are various factors that influence the outcome.

The list of people eligible to apply for an EAD is as follows -

If you are a green card applicant waiting for your application result or have applied for an adjustment of status, you are eligible to apply for an EAD.
If you are an H1B EAD holder or any other specific employment-based non-immigration visa holder like E1 or E2, your spouse also becomes eligible to apply for the EAD card.
If you are an F1 student who is a part of an OPT (Optical Practical Training) program, you can apply for EAD.
You can also apply for EAD as a refugee, K1 visa holder, or an asylum seeker who is allowed to stay in the US.
If you are eligible under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or a Micronesia, Palau or the Marshall Island citizen, you can apply for the EAD card.


Some of the EAD FAQs are as follows -

Can you replace your EAD if it gets lost or stolen?

Answer - Yes, you can. If your EAD gets lost, stolen or destroyed, you can request a replacement by filing a Form I-765.

How to rectify an error in the EAD card?

Answer - If the EAD has gotten issued incorrectly and contains some error or incorrect information, there can be two possibilities. If the error was made by you when applying, you have to submit a new application through Form I-765 and also submit your existing EAD card. However, if it was a processing error made by the USCIS, you can request for a replacement by submitting your current EAD to the service centre or National Benefit Centre.

What is H1B EAD?

H1B and EAD are two separate things with several differences and varying work restrictions. You only become eligible for an H1B visa if you have a written job offer from a US company and can meet the education and experience criteria. On the other hand, EAD is available even if you are a non-resident immigrant living in America and also allows you to take up any job in the US.

Conclusion -

We hope this article helped you to understand that a visa grants you entry to the US, but an EAD allows you to work there.

You can also read the other articles on our website about filling the Form DS 11, Form I-94, Form N 400 and others.

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This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended be advice. You must obtain professional advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, investment or other professional advice from North Loop or its affiliates. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date. All opinions expressed do not reflect the views of North Loop nor are endorsed by North Loop.