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Step-by-Step Guide for Filing I-765 Online for EAD Application

After college, I was very excited to begin work and gain some work experience in the US. However, I soon realized that I needed to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card to work in the US. This is when I first encountered the I-765 form online.

I thought filling out the I-765 form online would be hard because I'd never done it before. But honestly, it's quite simple. Just know that not all visa categories can use the online I-765 filing. I'm sharing my experience based on an F1 visa.


When I searched online to find out who could use the I-765 form online, the search results were confusing. The information kept saying all categories were eligible for online filing, and it mainly showed the process for mailing the I-765 form. This led me to write this article specifically about the I-765 online process.



Table of Contents: I-765 Online Application



Who can File I-765 Application Online?

Only the following I-765 categories are eligible to apply for an EAD through the online process, and you will also see this list when you begin filling out the I-765 application online.


  1. (a)(12) – Temporary Protected Status (You are submitting an initial Form I-821 or you have an approved Form I-821);

  2. (c)(3)(A) – F-1 student, pre-completion OPT;

  3. (c)(3)(B) – F-1 student, post-completion OPT;

  4. (c)(3)(C) – F-1 student, 24-month extension for STEM students (students holding a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics);

  5. (c)(8) – Applicants for Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement;

  6. (c)(8) – Application for Employment Authorization Based on Pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum or for Withholding of Removal;

  7. (c)(11) – Parole;

  8. (c)(19) – Temporary Protected Status (You have a pending Form I-821); or

  9. (c)(33) – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (You must have a pending or approved Form I-821D to file Form I-765).

I-765 online

USCIS may add new categories in the future for those who can file online. Refer to this USCIS link for the latest information. Note that the following I-765 categories are not eligible for filing I-765 online as of Feb 2024. However, they can file on paper.




How to File I-765 Application Online?

These are the high-level steps you need to follow to file the I-765 form online. After creating an online account on USCIS and selecting the I-765 form, the USCIS website will automatically guide you through each step in detail.


I-765 Online Application

  • Create an account with USCIS by visiting myUSCIS > My Account > File a form online. From the drop-down menu, select form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.


  • The online I-765 form is no different from the physical form. It asks you for the same set of information. However, you can save your progress and resume it anytime. The online form is saved for 30 days.


  • Do not submit duplicate applications i.e. one via physical mail and another online, in this case, your application might get denied.

  • Complete the form and hit the button "Review and submit".


  • After you submit your I-765 online application, you can track your case online with the case number generated.

  • Respond to RFE (Request for Further Evidence, if any): You can do this online by submitting the necessary documents. No need to send it via physical mail.


  • Receive your final decision from USCIS.



I-765 Online Filing Fee

The filing fee for the I-765 form online is $520. However, it's not required for some categories, and you may be eligible to request a fee waiver. Check the details here.


  1. After completing the I-765 form online, you'll need to digitally sign the application and pay the filing fee of $520.

  2. You can make the online payment using a credit card, debit card, or directly from a checking/savings account.

  3. After clicking 'Pay and submit,' you'll be directed to pay.gov to complete the payment process.

  4. Do not click the Back or Refresh button on your browser.

  5. If you are not ready to proceed with the payment, click the Cancel button to return to the USCIS online portal.

  6. Note that the USCIS filing fee is non-refundable.


I-765 online


I-765 Online Processing Time

The processing time for an online I-765 application can vary depending on several factors, including the category under which you have applied, the USCIS service center (California, Potomac, Vermont, National Benefits Center, Nebraska & Texas) where your application was sent, and any processing delays or issues that may arise during the review process.


However, the I-765 processing time is the same whether you apply online or via mail. You can find the current I-765 processing time here. This data is refreshed daily.



I-765 Premium Processing

I-765 premium processing is a service from USCIS that makes the processing of the I-765 form faster. If you're an F1 applicant, you can use this service by paying an extra $1685.


USCIS guarantees to process the form within 30 days if you choose this option. You can request premium processing online or by physical mail, even if you initially filed I-765 online.


If they don't meet this deadline, they refund the extra fee but still process your application quickly. Remember, this extra fee is separate from the regular one, and you won't get it back, no matter what happens with your application.


It's important to note that premium processing is not available for all categories of I-765 applicants. Since March 2023, premium processing has been applicable for F-1 OPT & STEM OPT. For more details, refer to this USCIS link.


Additionally, you can consult the I-907 form, which is used to request premium processing. Refer to the following blog.

Premium processing


Steps to File I-765 Online

Below are the steps to file Form I-765 online:


Step 1: Create an online account with USCIS. To file Form I-765 online, you will need to create an account with the USCIS.


Step 2: Complete form I-765. You will be prompted to answer a series of questions and provide details about your background, your eligibility for employment authorization, and your current immigration status, similar to the physical I-765 form.


Step 3: Upload supporting documents online.


Step 4: Pay the application fee of $520. You can pay the application fee using a credit card or debit card. The current fee for Form I-765 is $520, although this amount may be subject to change.


Step 5: Submit your application. After you have completed Form I-765, uploaded your supporting documents, and paid the application fee, you will need to review your application and submit it online. USCIS will send you a confirmation receipt once they receive your application.


Step 6: Wait for USCIS to process your application.



I-765 EAD Renewal Online

The I-765 online form is applicable for both initial applications and renewals of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When renewing an EAD, you need to submit a new I-765 form before your current EAD expires. The renewal process mirrors the initial application process.


To avoid a gap in employment authorization, USCIS recommends submitting the renewal application at least 180 days before the current EAD expires. Keep in mind that you cannot file for renewal more than 180 days before the current EAD expiration date.



FAQs on I-765 Online Application

Can H4 EAD be filed online?

No, the c(26) category which is used to file H4 EAD is not eligible to file online.


How can I get my I-765 faster?

You can either request premium processing or request for expedited processing if you don't have the option of premium processing. Please refer to the provided links for details.


Is it better to file I-765 online?

It's quicker and easier to file I-765 online, so yes it's better. However, the I-765 processing time remains the same.



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