How Much Does a U.S. Work Permit Cost? Lawyers' Fees and Filing Fees

Filing costs and attorney fees normally required in order to submit Form I-765 to USCIS, seeking a work permit for U.S. employment.

When submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency will likely require you to pay a standard filing fee. This fee is nonrefundable. That means if your application for a work permit is denied, you do not get your money back. So, you'll want to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for a work permit before applying! However, some people are either exempt from the fee or do not need to pay it because it's included within the fee for a larger application, as described below.

The I-765 filing fee required by USCIS in most cases is, as of 2022, $410. There's an added $85 fee for biometrics (fingerprinting) if you are either requesting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), have an approved employment-based immigrant petition (or are the spouse or child of someone who does) but are facing compelling economic circumstances, or are applying for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status.

In addition, if you have an attorney help you with your application, the attorney will charge a fee for these services, as explained below.

Who Is Exempt From Paying USCIS's I-765 Filing Fee?

In order to determine the filing fees, and whether one is exempt from them, an applicant must first determine their category of eligibility under the Instructions to Form I-765.

The following eligibility categories need not pay an I-765 filing fee for their first application (but we'll note below when they must pay a renewal fee for subsequent EADs):

  • Applicants who are filing or have already filed Form I-485 for adjustment of status and paid the associated filing fee for that application. If you don't include the I-765 with your adjustment packet, but later decide you want a work permit, you must include with your Form I-765 the Form I-797C you got from USCIS, to give notice of your payment of the filing fees of Form I-485.
  • Refugees and asylees (already granted asylum) as well as those who have become eligible to apply for a work permit while their asylum application is pending (renewal fees are required in both cases).
  • Eligible applicants who are citizens of Micronesia, Palau, or the Marshall Islands.
  • Persons holding N-8 or N-9 immigrant status. (Renewal fees required.)
  • Persons granted withholding of deportation.
  • Certain dependents of diplomatic personnel of foreign governments, NATO, or international organizations.
  • VAWA self-petitioners.

For more, please see How to Apply for a U.S. Work Permit (EAD).

Lawyers' Fees for Preparing USCIS Form I-765

If you wish to have a lawyer help you prepare the Form I-765, the lawyer must charge for their services. For standard tasks such as these, most immigration attorneys charge a flat fee. That makes it easy to compare fees between attorneys. A typical fee for this particular service is from $250 to $500.

The lawyer might also separately bill you for expenses, such as the costs of photocopies and mailing documents to USCIS. You can ask the attorney to estimate these costs in advance.

And, you will have to have two color photos taken to send with the application, which will probably cost around $15.

For more on hiring an attorney, see these articles on Using an Immigration Lawyer.


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