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

If you are going to file the I-765 to obtain an employment authorization document (work permit), here are the associated costs you can expect.

When submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency may require you to pay a filing fee. This fee is nonrefundable -- if your application is denied, you do not get your money back -- so make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. 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 filing fee required by USCIS as of 2016 is $380.

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

Who Is Exempt From Paying I-765 Filing Fee?

In order to determine the filing fees, and whether one is exempt from these, 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 having 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. (Renewal fees required.)
  • Refugees and asylees (already granted asylum) (renewal fees required).
  • 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 deferred enforced departure, withholding of deportation, or removal status.
  • Certain dependents of diplomatic personnel of foreign governments or international organizations.

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

Lawyers' Fees

If you wish to have a lawyer help you prepare the Form I-765, the lawyer must charge for his or her services. For standard services 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 may also separately bill you for expenses, such as the costs of photocopies and mailing documents to the USCIS Service Center. 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 $10.

For more on hiring an attorney, see our section on Using An Immigration Lawyer.

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