Green Card Vs. EAD Card

When individuals migrate to the United States, their ultimate goal is to obtain a green card. We do not question it because we know that a green card is a dream come true. But people mistakenly think that they cannot find or do a job until they have their green card. People are still unaware of the possible options they can acquire to work in the US until they get their green cards. Apart from green card applicants, people think if they are not from the US and neither do they have the green card, they cannot do jobs. They believe it is out of the question to find a job without a green card. 

On the other hand, people think that if they have EAD referred to as Employment Authorization Document, which is also known as a work permit, they do not need a green card. They take green cards for granted, thinking that they are nothing more than an EAD.

No matter which case you belong to, there are individual differences between a green card and an EAD. Both of these have their challenges and advantages. We have made this guide to understand the concept and difference between a green and an EAD.

What Is A Green Card?

A green card allows immigrants to live and work in the US permanently. It is an Alien Registration Card; a Green card is an unofficial name given to it because of its green color. However, the color has been changing from pink to white, but now they are green again.

Holding a green card gives so many benefits to the green cardholder. You can travel in and out of the US whenever you want. You can have your social rights, driving license, and much more. However, a green card doesn’t permit everything. For example, an immigrant holding a green card cannot take part in an election. A person may lose his green card if he stays outside of the US for more than one year.

What Is An EAD?

EAD, also called Employment Authorization Document, is a work permit. It is a card that is issued to temporary visa holders. Like green cards, EAD cards also have the person’s photo and name printed on it. They both share the same physical activities. EAD cards permit you to work in the US. You can show your ID card to your employer to prove that you are legally allowed to work in the US. You can get an EAD by filling a form I-765 and paying a fee of $410.

Difference Between A Green Card and an EAD

While the employment authorization document and the green card look the same in physical appearance, they both have individual names, photos, and expiry dates, but they possess specific differences and drawbacks.

If you are new, let us clear that a green card is the end goal, while an EAD is a way to achieve it. Green cards are the way to prove you a lawful permanent resident, while EAD is a temporary work permit issued for one year to temporary visa holders.

Some of the difference between a green card and EAD are as follows:

  • Difference in Purpose

A green card is multipurpose; it not only allows you a permanent residency, but it also gives you the legal right to work in the US. If you have a green card, you do not need any other document to prove to employers that you are allowed to work. Being multipurpose is the key benefit of a green card.

On the other hand, an EAD is a stand-alone card. You come to the US to apply for a green card, but you cannot come to apply for an EAD. There must be some underlying reason to apply for an EAD. You may have a work visa or some other stuff.

  • Freedom to Travel Worldwide

Another difference between a green card and an EAD is the opportunity to travel. A green card allows you to travel freely when and wherever you want. You can just leave the US, travel, and re-enter. But in the case of the EAD, you cannot get this advantage. If you wish to travel having an EAD, you will have to apply for a travel document.

  • Ability to Sponsor Green Card to Immediate Relatives

Green card holders have the legal ability to sponsor green card applications for their relatives. It is advantageous to sponsor their relatives to become permanent residents of the US like them. At the same time, an EAD doesn’t allow you this legal right. You cannot sponsor or file petitions or your relatives until and unless you are a green cardholder.

  • Validity Period

The significant difference that matters the most is the validity period. A green card comes with a validity period of 10 years. However, a green card is permanent, and it can be renewed with time. You can restore your green card and continue living and working in the US.

On the other hand, an Employment Authorization Document is a temporary work permit. Its validity period depends upon your underlying status. When your underlying status ends, your right to work in the US also ends.

  • Citizenship

Once you become a green card holder, you just cannot wait to apply for citizenship status. Citizenship status allows you to enjoy things that other status cannot imagine. You can vote in elections if you have citizenship status. However, citizenship is only allowed to green holders after five years. An EAD holder cannot apply for citizenship status. 

What Is the Green Card and EAD Card Processing Time?

There is a huge difference between the processing time of an EAD and a green card. A green card can take years to come. However, you can submit both green card and EAD application at the same time. But the processing time of an EAD is much shorter. If you submitted a properly filed EAD application, you would get your work permit within 69 to 90 days.

Final Words

Considering the differences, an EAD is much more limited in what you can do. A green card allows you to have extra fun. However, EAD is still a good option for the individuals waiting for their application procedures. EAD can be renewed; their validity period can be increased if their underlying status is still alive.