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Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

What is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

Employment authorization makes it permissible for a Foreign National in applicable categories to be employed for a certain time frame in the U.S. An EAD is evidence the foreign national is allowed to work throughout a specific time period.



You will need to apply for an EAD if you want to apply for permission to work or  if you authorized to work in the U.S. based on your immigration status but need evidence of that employment authorization. An EAD may be renewed with USCIS up to 180 days prior to a current card’s expiration date.


There are numerous categories for an EAD, but the most popular subheadings in our practice are listed below.

Employment-Based Categories :While many nonimmigrant statuses do not require the primary beneficiary to hold an EAD as proof of their ability to be employed, spouses of some employment-based immigration statuses may apply for permission to work such as the spouses of E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, or L-1 nonimmigrants. In November 2021, USCIS announced that as part of a litigation settlement, certain dependents (H-4, L-2, E-1/E-2) will be permitted to work incident to status. The logistics of this change still need to be ironed out by the government, including a new I-94 record for spouses to differentiate with children. Please see AILA Document 21111002 for more information:

  • Family-Based Categories:While not an exhaustive list, some examples include: K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, K-2 dependent, K-3 nonimmigrant spouse of a U.S. citizen, K-4 dependent.
  • Adjustment of Status Category: When an adjustment of status application is filed, an EAD application can be submitted simultaneously.


Throughout the years, we have been successful in aiding clients obtain employment authorization for their spouses or loved ones under all of the above mentioned subheadings.