EAD Approval Notice Can Be Used to Prove Work Authorization

In June of 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended its contract with its vendor in charge of producing Employment Authorization Documents (“EAD”). However, USCIS did not have the resources in place to begin card productions at the normal pace without using the third party vendor. This led to EAD’s taking over 13 months to be produced after approval. Many individuals have been left jobless while they wait for USCIS to send them their EAD.



An employee must provide an employer proof of work authorization for the employer to comply with I-9 laws. An employee may present a List A document, or a List B and List C document.


  • List A Documents: Establish Identity and Work Authorization

  • List B Documents: Establish Identity

  • List C Documents : Establish Work Authorization.


An EAD is considered a List A document. Therefore, if an employee provides an employer a List A document, the employer does not need any other form of documentation to establish identity and work authorization.


Due to the growing backlog on production of EAD’s, USCIS announced on August 19, 2020, that employers could accept I-797, Notice of Action Approving an Application for Employment Authorization with a notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through August 20, 2020 as proof that the employee is authorized to work (but not identity).


It is important to understand the following points:

  1. An EAD approval notice can only be accepted as a List C document if the notice date is between December 1, 2019 and August 20, 2020.

  2. The approval notice is only a List C document. Therefore, the employee also must provide a List B document to confirm the employee’s identity (i.e.: Driver’s License; ID issued by federal, state, or local government; or School ID with photograph); and

  3. An employer will need to reverify the worker’s employment eligibility by December 1, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding this policy update, or any other immigration questions, please contact Chapman Law Firm to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys.


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