Some people casually toss cards into their wallet. But those who obtain me treat me with respect. My beneficiaries handle me carefully because I’m so valuable.
I’m an employment authorization document. I show U.S. employers that a foreign national is allowed to work for them. I give people the ability to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. I present opportunity and financial stability.
But it’s not always easy to get me. Here, I’ll share the journey I take from an initial application to my beneficiary’s wallet.
Step 1: EAD Application
I start as an EAD application, Form I-765, with a stack of supporting evidence that shows my beneficiary’s immigration status and financial need.
Step 2: Lockbox Processing
I travel to a Lockbox, a secure facility the government uses to collect immigration applications and fees. There are three USCIS Lockboxes in the U.S., so I visit Phoenix, Arizona; Chicago, Illinois; or Lewisville, Texas. USCIS workers send my beneficiary a receipt notice to let them know I arrived safely.
Step 3: USCIS Office
The USCIS workers sort me, scan me, and transfer me to a USCIS office. This step can take weeks or months because the Lockbox is a crowded place—I’m surrounded by hundreds of thousands of applications. At the USCIS office, workers review me and decide whether to approve me or deny me.
Students who need me to work for a U.S. employer in an optional practical training program (work related to their study), can file for me online. Zipping through the internet is faster than visiting a Lockbox, which means students can start work quickly.
Step 4: Biometrics Appointment
My beneficiary goes to a biometrics appointment, which means I get more information. Now, I have my beneficiary’s fingerprints, photo, and signature. This information completes my application.
Step 5: EAD Approval
If my beneficiary is approved for an EAD, they’ll get an approval notice. Then my stack of papers will transform into a gorgeous card (if I say so myself) which travels through the mail to my beneficiary. My exciting journey from Lockbox to my beneficiary’s wallet usually takes a few months.