How to Complete Form I-765 WS for Your DACA Application

In a Nutshell

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides protection from deportation for many young undocumented immigrants. When you're applying for DACA, you'll submit three main forms together with your supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition to the official DACA application Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, you'll have to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-765WS, the worksheet explaining why you need a work permit. This article will focus on the shortest out of the three forms—Form I-765WS. You'll learn what Form I-765WS is and why you need it, as well as how to complete the different parts of the form.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 22, 2022

What Is Form I-765WS?

Form I-765WS is a worksheet that people applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) must submit with their application for work authorization and official DACA application. DACA is one of the eligibility categories for getting work authorization in the United States. With work authorization, DACA recipients can get a social security number and social security card. The I-765WS form is one of the three forms that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a government agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), requires for any first-time or DACA renewal applications. USCIS uses this form to determine if you have an economic need to work. 

There is no fee to file USCIS Form I-765WS. But you must file Form I-765WS together with the completed and signed Form I-765 and Form I-821D, which carry a fee for processing and biometrics. For general information on the application process, check out our guide to applying for DACA.

There are three parts to Form I-765WS. The first asks for your full name (your family name, given name, and middle name). The second part asks for your financial information. You’ll have to report a U.S. dollar amount for your current annual income, current annual expenses, and the total current value of your assets. The third part allows you to explain your economic necessity to work further.

How Do I Complete the Financial Information Portion of Form I-765WS?

Form I-765WS asks for your current annual income, current annual expenses, and the total current value of your assets. Your current annual income includes all of your earnings from the past 12 months. This includes jobs you’ve worked at even without legal immigration status. If you don’t work, you can report $0 of annual income. You should not include your parents’ or spouse’s income here. However, you should include scholarships that help you pay for living expenses as part of your income.

Your current annual expenses include any bills, car or house payments, school tuition, or other costs you face. Be sure that all expenses are annual instead of monthly.

Remember that income is any money that you currently earn. Assets, however, are money or properties that you already hold, including cars and homes. If you keep any gifted money in a savings account, you should count that money as an asset. To find your total current value of assets, add up the value of each asset.

How Do I Explain to the U.S. Government That I Need a Work Permit?

The explanation section of Form I-765WS is optional, but it is a good idea to provide additional information. Your explanation can help you build a strong case for obtaining your work permit, officially called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Here, you can explain why you need to work. Common explanations include wanting to contribute toward your expenses or save for college, a car, or future healthcare emergencies. Even if your income exceeds your expenses, you may still have an economic need.

Be aware that you can use your work permit as identification when applying for a driver’s license. Some job opportunities require that you own a driver’s license. If a license would benefit you in this way, you can let USCIS know as part of your explanation here. Finally, when you’ve completed the form, make sure you’ve signed it.