black and white rock formation landscape
Person Filling Out Work Permit Application Form I-765

Who is Eligible for Form I-765 Work Permit in Arizona?

Fortunately, if you have already applied for a green card or are otherwise eligible, you can complete Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization. Once granted by USCIS, you receive a work permit that you can present to an employer as proof that you are legally authorized to accept employment.


The process for completing Form I-765 can be challenging, especially considering the long list of eligibility categories. Determining your qualifying class under USCIS rules is complicated, and errors and omissions put you at risk for a denial, rejection, or significant delays. You gain an advantage when you have an Arizona employment authorizations lawyer to help you navigate the process and avoid critical mistakes. It is also useful to review some answers to frequently asked questions about work permits for qualifying immigrants.

What is the purpose of completing Form I-765? 


Depending on your immigrant status and pending petitions or applications, you may need to file USCIS Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization to work in the US. Green card holders and individuals with certain employment-based visas are not required to obtain separate work permits. If your application is approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that you can show a potential employer as evidence that you are legally allowed to work in the US. Without an EAD, your employment opportunities could be limited. Employers are reluctant to risk penalties for hiring someone who is not verified to work.


One of the most common reasons for filing a Form I-765 application is the need to earn a living during the gap period after applying for a green card and before getting LPR status. Those who are present in the US go through adjustment of status, and they can work while awaiting the green card. People seeking asylum in the US and those who have been granted refugee status upon arrival in the US can also apply for an EAD.

Who is eligible for an employment authorization? 


There are multiple categories for individuals to file Form I-765, and eligibility depends upon the specific USCIS rules for that class. Your Phoenix immigration attorney can provide details about the following:


  • Green Card Applicants: After filing Form I-485 – Application for Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, you can obtain a work permit while you await approval from USCIS.
  • Family Immigration: Those seeking a green card through family-based immigration can also file for an EAD while their applications are being processed. 
  • Special Categories for Certain Nationals: Individuals who are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) because of dangerous conditions in their home country can apply for a work permit. 
  • Asylees and Refugees: Though some will be given a work permit upon being granted status, some individuals will need to file documentation for an EAD.
  • Qualifying Students: Foreign students may apply for a work permit for limited purposes, but they must qualify through very detailed programs. 
  • Employment Visas: Many immigrant visas are granted through petitions by employers, but it is possible to get a work authorization on your own if you meet certain criteria. 
  • Other Categories: You might also have options for getting a work permit as the victim of human trafficking or domestic abuse, the dependent of a diplomat, or someone who has status as Withholding of Removal.

What factors disqualify someone from preparing Form I-765?


The most common reasons USCIS does not approve an application for a work permit are usually linked to mistakes or omissions. If you did not properly sign or include the filing fee, you could receive a notification that your Form I-765 was rejected. USCIS may also deny your work permit if you were convicted of a crime, which is a determination made in the agency’s own discretion. 


Another disqualification factor is not applying under the correct eligibility category when filing Form I-765. There are numerous options in the application, but you must have the supporting documentation. If your indication on the form does not match up with your evidence, your application for work authorization could be denied. 

How do I apply for a USCIS work permit?


There is more to filing Form I-765 than filling the boxes and adding your signature. You will need to provide very specific, meticulous details, and you must be prepared to include evidence to support your claims. Always keep in mind that you provide this information under oath, so there can be penalties and disqualification due to fraud. Some of the key sections of the application cover:


  • Your reasons for applying for a work permit, which may be as an initial application or renewal;
  • Personal information about you, your residence, family, and relevant addresses;
  • Details about your entry into the US;
  • Information about your eligibility category; and,
  • Many other details. 


You can file your Form I-765 online or directly at a USCIS location. The filing fee is $410, but there may be additional costs related to biometrics to obtain your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. 

What supporting documents are required for Form I-765? 


Every statement or piece of information you provide in your application for a work permit must be supported by documentary evidence. You should be prepared to supply:


  • A copy of your Form I-94 – Arrival/Departure Record, your passport, or other travel document;
  • Copies of prior EADs, if you are seeking renewal of your work authorization;
  • Evidence of arrests and convictions;
  • Birth and marriage certificates;
  • Divorce records;
  • Passport photos;
  • Your Notice of Eligibility as a refugee;
  • Your grant of asylum by USCIS; and,
  • A judge’s order on Withholding of Removal, for those who do not qualify for asylum.


There may be additional documentation that is required as proof when you are filing Form I-765 for different eligibility categories. The key to getting prompt approval without delays or the need to make corrections is retaining an Arizona Form I-765 lawyer. Your work permit application could be mired in the process for months without proper guidance. 

How do the rules specifically affect asylum seekers? 


USCIS has established a special set of rules for those who have applied for asylum and have not yet been granted status. There is a mandatory waiting period of 150 days after filing Form I-589 – Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal before you can submit an application for an EAD. Plus, USCIS will hold off for another 30 days before issuing the work permit.


Note that these time considerations may be different for those asylum seekers going through defensive asylum, in which they are already involved in removal proceedings. 

What if my work authorization was denied?


If USCIS does not approve Form I-765, you will receive a notification containing details on the reasons why. There is a difference between a rejection and denial. If denied, the grounds are typically related to not meeting the eligibility rules. You may need to find another route for obtaining an EAD. A rejection usually means you need to correct errors or provide additional supporting documents. The notification from USCIS will tell you what must be resolved.

Do I need to hire an Arizona immigration lawyer for Form I-765?


There is no legal requirement that you retain an attorney to assist with getting your work permit, but there are many reasons that doing so benefits your situation. A legal advocate knows the intricate, meticulous rules governing USCIS applications, forms, and processes. Mistakes in these areas could lead to a rejection or denial of Form I-765, but even delays can be costly. Your lawyer also has experience working with USCIS and knowing what documents will be sufficient for getting prompt approval on your work permit.


Plus, you can rely on your immigration attorney to tackle the following tasks to support your needs:


  • Consulting with you on your objectives and grounds for seeking an EAD;
  • Reviewing options for eligibility to ensure you apply under the appropriate criteria for a work permit;
  • Coordinating the application process for asylum status as grounds for filing Form I-765;
  • Gathering and organizing all supporting documentation necessary for Form I-765;
  • Completing online forms for your work authorization;
  • Assisting with any requirements to submit biometrics;
  • Participating in the interview process, if required by USCIS; and,
  • Submitting all necessary documents for Form I-765.


From a practical standpoint, having a lawyer’s assistance means you can be earning a living as soon as legally possible. As a warning, taking employment without proper work authorization can lead to unfortunate results. USCIS will likely deny your application for an EAD, which threatens your ability to get permission to work in the future. 

Discuss Form I-765 Work Permits with an Arizona Immigration Attorney

These answers to FAQs about employment authorizations are helpful, but you will require more detailed information when preparing Form I-765. Our team at Diamondback Legal is committed to providing the personalized legal services necessary to get favorable results with work permit applications. For additional details, please call our Phoenix office at (602) 755-3199 or check out our website. We can set up a consultation with an Arizona immigration lawyer who will advise you on what to expect with the application process.


Related Content: What is the Fastest Way to Obtain Employment Authorization in Arizona?

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.