Difference Between EAD and H-1B

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 04, 2023


Difference Between EAD and H-1B

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In this article, we are discussing two different things. One is an employment authorization document for immigrants with a visa that is called EAD and H-1B. Though both provide foreign people from other countries a sort of permission to work in the US, they are largely different from each other. So, knowing the difference between the two helps one understand their visa complications a little better. Also, this helps in case they are living with one of these on US soil, what all rights they have, and what they can or can not do. It is very useful for US citizens, as well as it helps them differentiate between different foreigners working in the US and helps them to understand the workings of their government and policies.

EAD is for non-resident people currently living in the US, like students or people there for treatments, and may also fall under it. The H-1B is held by individuals who are in the country to work for a specific institute or company due to their high qualifications. Both of these have different restrictions. The ones with H-1B cannot work anywhere else but the sponsoring institute, but the people with EAD authorization can work any job of their choice in the US. There are many other differences, but first, let's discuss the key differences. The differences between the two visas also help us understand which one may be more valuable in comparison to the other for the majority of immigrants who enter the US borders for various reasons.


The main difference between EAD and H-1B is access. With EAD authorization, people can work any job in the US, so this is not the case with H-1B. With H-1B, the person holding it can only work in that specific institution and company that sponsors them. Also, the amount of people who can get access to H-1B is limited compared to EAD, which can be given to an unlimited number of people. The validity for both of these is very different, too; for H-1B, it is generally for 3 years and can be extended to 6, so this is not the case with EAD. The validity depends on the immigration status and can differ from person to person. Also, we are discussing one important factor is the cost, the cost for an EAD authorization ranges from 300 to 400 USD, whereas the H-1M cost ranges to 2000 USD. The key difference is that H-1B is made for individuals who are moving to the US for work purposes, whereas the EAD is generally for all the other people who come into the country, including the students who may stay there for a couple of years or people for other miscellaneous reasons.

Difference Between EAD and H-1B In Tabular Form

Method of applicationThis form’s application is largely different from EAD as this form is not submitted by the person migrating. It's submitted by the sponsoring company, The company will submit a form to get permission to bring in a non-immigrant worker, once this is cleared only then can the person get in. Issued by USCIS.In the case of H-1B, the applications open on the first business day of April. One of the reasons for it is that there are only a limited number of applications that are approved after which no more applications are entertained.
Time for applicationThe cost of application for these is higher than EAD as only a limited number of these are entertained so the cost of these is on the higher side, usually around 2000 dollars or more.The time for applying is different because the approval of the application also takes a decided number of days for EAD it takes 60-90 for the application to process, so before then, an application needs to be applied for.
CostThe cost for both the applications differs as both are meant for people going abroad for different reasons, as these have an unlimited number these cost less around 300 to 400 hundred dollars.The cost of application for these is higher than EAD as only a limited number of these are entertained, so the cost of these is on the higher side, usually around 2000 dollars or more.
Valid forThe validity for these is undecided and can differ from individual to individual based on their immigration status.The validity for these is fixed or based on their work, mostly these H-1B visas are valid for three years, but the validity can be extended up to six years based on the requirement.
Work PermissionsThe time for applying is different because the approval of the application also takes a decided number of days for EAD it takes 60-90 for the application to process, so before then, an application needs to be applied for.This visa allows the holder to work only for the specific institution or company that sponsors the individual or has submitted the application for them they cannot work anywhere else that’s the only restriction.
EligibilityThe eligibility for this kind of authorization is fairly simple any non-citizen is eligible to apply though, they should naturally already have a visa which was issued to them before arrival, that is simple.The eligibility to apply for this is that the individual should have experience of at least 12 years or a bachelor's degree with expertise in a subject or multiple subjects, the gist is that highly qualified individuals can only apply for this visa.

What is EAD?

When we talk about EAD, we are talking about a type of authorization issued to people migrating to the US for different purposes. This visa encompasses different rights and restrictions. Knowing the difference between this Authorisation and H-1B helps to clear out the limitations between the two. EAD, in particular, has a lower application cost of about 300 to 400 dollars and provides a variety of rights. With EAD, the individual can work whatever job they wish in the US; compared to this, H-1B provides a restrictive right to employment as people are not allowed to apply everywhere, But with EAD Authorisation, they can hold any job in the US only for the issued period of the visa. The application for this visa does not take very long, about 60 to 90 days, so people have to apply for about two to three months before applying for different jobs in the US, to get it on their scheduled date. The eligibility for this is very simple as anyone who is not a US citizen can apply for this Authorisation to work in the US for a period depending on their need for the job like students may take up part-time jobs. But the validity of this differs from that of H-1B as these have no fixed validity and solely depend on the immigration status of the individuals. This puts the immigrant into a state of certainty that they can work for their financial stability without worry.

Compared to H-1B, it is not meant for people who travel to the US for high-paying Jobs. It is mostly meant for people going to The US for recreational purposes, treatments, and education. Though this is easier to get, the issuing process for this is simple enough, but finding jobs can take longer than imagined, keeping the status of the economy in mind at the time of applying.

What is H-1B?

H-1B is a type of visa we have discussed in this article previously, but the rights and restrictions provided by this visa differ from those of the EAD Authorisation. One of the main ones is that it usually has a fixed validity time, which is not dependent on the immigration status of the person. The validity is usually for about three years and then can be extended up to six years, depending on the need. This provides a sense of certainty to the immigrating individuals or the person holding the visa, though the restrictions that come with this visa are that it bars the individual holding the visa from working anywhere else from the institutions or company that's sponsoring that person which is not the case with the EAD Authorisation as that allows the visa holding foreigner to work anywhere till the visa validity expires.

Apart from that, another limitation is that the application form for this costs more than that of the EAD it costs about 2000 dollars or more talking about limitations, the eligibility of this visa is also much more complicated. The eligibility criteria specifically states only people with at least 12 years of experience or a Bachelor's degree or ceratin specialization in one or more subjects are eligible to apply for this visa, which filters out a lot of people. Apart from this, the number of these visas that are issued is also limited to only 65000 per year with exemptions, and only 20000 without exemptions are accepted. The application for this opens on 1st April, and since there are limited visas that are issued, the people who need to apply will naturally have to rush. The application form is not filled out by the person applying though, it's filled out by the Institution or company that the individual will be working for. The application for this is largely different from the EAD Authorisation as this is specifically for the people who will be working in the US, unlike the EAD visa holders.

Main Difference Between EAD and H-1B in Points

  • Cost: The cost, as we have discussed, widely differs for application to both. For EAD, it is far less and is about 300 to 400 dollars, whereas for H-1B, it is about 2000 dollars, though both these are meant for different purposes, and H-1B has limited issues, so naturally the application for both will be different. As people with EAD Authorisation are naturally not living in the US, with the main objective being Employment.
  • Application Eligibility: The eligibility for both is quite different when it comes to an EAD. The eligibility criteria are simple and uncomplicated as anybody who is not a US national and is living in the US with a visa can apply for this Authorisation. Compared to this, the H-1B visa has an eligibility criteria that only accepts people with 12 years of experience or with a Bachelor's degree or specialization in one or more subjects naturally, this filters a lot of people.
  • Total Issues: The issues of the EAD are unlimited and depend on the number of visa holders applying, but with H-1B, the visa issues are limited, and get only 65000 exemption issues and 2000 non-exemption applications, so this lessens the number of people with this visa.
  • Work Permission:  The permission provided by EAD Authorisation allows the individual to work any Job in the US till the validity of their visa expires. In comparison, the H-1B visa allows the person to only work for the institution or Company that has sponsored them or submitted their visa application; this bars them from applying elsewhere.
  • Method of Application: The methods of applying are different for both of them as EAD Authorisation is for all the immigrants that already have a visa and the application is accepted by USCIS on the other H-1B is a visa, the person applying for does not already have a visa, other than that the institution or company makes the application for this that person will be working for.


We can conclude this article by saying that these different provisions help different people from all over the world to work in the US with considerable flexibility. With EAD, a person who even without an H-1B visa, can work in the US, during the time stay there, this helps people in a foreign land to manage their finances better apart from that this also ensures a smooth process of globalization to take place as with issuing of visa like H-1B people can migrate to another country specifically for work purpose which is very helpful in building a global economy.


  • https://www.immi-usa.com/ead-vs-h-1b/


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"Difference Between EAD and H-1B." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 23 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-ead-and-h-1b>.

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