Lost My DACA Work Permit Card; Can I Get a New One?

What to do if you need to replace a lost or stolen DACA-based EAD.

By , Attorney · Temple University Beasley School of Law
Immigrants who have a valid Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) work permit (officially called an EAD or employment authorization document) might wonder what to do if they accidentally lose this card before it expires. This article provides information about replacing a lost or stolen DACA work permit card.

Can I Still Work If I Lose My DACA Work Permit?

You do not lose your work authorization simply because your EAD is lost or stolen. Hopefully you made a photocopy of your card (or your employer or school has a copy) to prove that you remain eligible to work.
Additionally, your DACA approval notice from USCIS is sufficient proof to show immigration and other authorities that you have DACA status and should be protected from deportation during the two-year authorization period.
If at some point an end date is declared for the DACA program, then whether or not you should apply for a replacement work permit card depends how much time you have remaining in DACA status. Timing is key!

Submitting an Application for Replacement Work Permit Will Not Extend Your DACA Status or Work Authorization

Be aware that applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a replacement work permit will not extend your DACA status or the period of work authorization that you were granted.
For example, if your EAD is due to expire in June 2024, and you lose your EAD in April 2024, it is likely not worth it to apply for a replacement card, since it will in all probability take longer than two months for USCIS to process a replacement work permit for you.
Also, if you are already employed in the United States, you do not need to inform your employer that you lost your card. It should already have your work permit and length of authorized employment on file. In this situation, paying an additional fee for a replacement EAD does not make much sense.

You Can File a New Form I-765 Application to Replace Your Work Permit

If there is still a lengthy period of time before the expiration of your work authorization, it could be worthwhile to apply for a replacement card; at a minimum, for your peace of mind, especially if you expect to find new employment during this time.

The normal processing time for a replacement EAD is several months, depending on which USCIS service center handles applications from your area. Go to the USCIS Case Processing Times website to get a more accurate estimate of wait times. So, for example, if your EAD does not expire until April 2025 and you lose your card in January 2024, it would probably make sense to request a replacement work permit.

You can apply for a replacement card by filling out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Make sure to check the box indicating that it is a request for a replacement of a lost EAD and include information about how it was lost or stolen so that the USCIS official adjudicating your application does not mistake it for an untimely DACA work authorization renewal application.

Getting Legal Help

Although hiring an immigration attorney to help with your DACA EAD application is not required, it could make your life much easier, and help you make sure that changes to the DACA program do not affect your eligibility. See How Expensive Is an Immigration Lawyer?

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