Should I Get An EAD or A Green Card?

Deciding to move to the United States to both live and work is just the first step in the immigration process. You also need to review different visas and other options to decide what may be best for you. For example, would you mind waiting for a potentially long period of time while your application is reviewed? Or would you like to gain entry quicker through an employment authorization document (EAD) while you wait for your permanent citizenship to be granted? Many people looking to immigrate to the U.S. wonder whether an EAD or a green card is the better option for them.

What Is An EAD?

An EAD is also known as a work permit. It allows you to enter the United States to work before you become a permanent citizen. It does not however confer lawful immigration status on its own.  You can apply for one if you meet any of the following qualifications:

You don’t need to apply for an EAD if you already have a visa that allows you to work for a specific employer. EADs do expire, but they are renewable.

Differences Between an EAD and a Green Card

EADs allow you to reside in the U.S., like a green card does. However, green cards give people permanent citizenship status, while EADs are only temporary. There are other privileges that come with having a green card, including the ability to:

  • Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • Sponsor certain family members for green card status
  • Use a green card to prove lawful eligibility to work in the U.S.

Because the EAD is a basic document that verifies work status, it’s more limited and doesn’t allow you to sponsor family members or travel.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

Still not sure if you need an EAD or a green card? Let the immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC answer your questions and help you prepare any documents you need for work authorization or permanent citizenship.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding An EAD or A Green Card, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.