Work Permit Guide: Here Is Everything You Need to Know About a USA Work Permit

Everything You Need to Know About a USA Work Permit

What is a Work Permit?

If you aspire to work in the US or you have a job there but you are not a citizen, you may have asked; what is a work permit? Everything you need to know about a USA work permit will be explained here. It is a photo identification document that allows immigrants and foreign nationals to work in the United States. These set of persons cannot work in the US unless the US government permits them to do so in the form of a work permit. 

Importance and Eligibility Criteria for Work Permit

A work permit is the best way to prove that you have the necessary permission to work in the United States. Working without a work permit when you need one can result in serious consequences. These may include deportation and a bar from entering the US for some years. 

You are eligible to work in the US with a work permit if: 

  1. You have been authorized to work in the US as an asylee, U nonimmigrant, or a refugee, and you need evidence of work authorization.
  2. It is a requirement for you to request the work permit itself. 
  3. You have a nonimmigrant visa that permits you to be in the US but you cannot work without obtaining permission from the USCIS (like an M-1 or F-1 student)

Note that if you are a lawful permanent resident, you don’t need to apply for a work permit as your Green Card is sufficient evidence of your work permit. You also don’t need to apply if you have a temporary visa that authorizes you to work for a particular employer.

What is a Work Permit? Types of Work Permits in the USA

Temporary Work Visas

Nonimmigrants can use this kind of work permit if they want to work for a specific employer for a period (temporarily). In this case, the employer has to file a petition on behalf of the employee to the USCIS.  Under this category, there’s the H1-B visa, L1-A Visa, O-1 Visa, P visa, and so on.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

This document authorizes an immigrant to work in the US for a limited time. This is mostly for professionals and persons skilled in certain fields of study. It also extends to business investors who invest a certain amount of money in the US. An example is the EB-1 visa. Also, note that a work permit can be generally referred to as EAD.

How to Apply for a Work Permit in USA

1. Apply for an immigrant status that allows you to work in the US

2. Fill out Form I-765 with your name, contact information, personal information, and information about your eligibility.

3. Prepare the necessary documents. They include:

  1. One copy of your passport photograph.
  2. One copy of your present US visa (for persons already in the US). 
  3. One copy of your original Form I-94 travel record (front and back).
  4. Copies of previous work permit if any (front and back).
  5.  Two recent passport-like photos which are 2-inch-by-2-inch (add your name and immigrant registration number with a pen or pencil at the back)
  6. One copy of the receipt you collected when you submitted your immigrant visa where necessary. 

Add the following documents if you’ve never had a work permit before:

  1. One copy of your birth certificate from your home country and your photo identification.
  2. A copy of a visa you received from a consulate of another country, not the United States.
  3. Any other national identity that has your fingerprint or photo on it. 

4. Pay the filing fee. These fees always change so ensure you check the USCIS website for the fee schedule.

5. Submit your application. It’s a good idea to add a cover letter. There’s no particular template for a cover letter.

Related: Employment Authorization: Which Immigrants can work in the United States?

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Work Permit

1. Not ensuring you meet up with the eligibility criteria

2. Making errors when filling the form

3. Having incomplete documents

4. Non-payment of the necessary fees or payment to the wrong person

5. Submitting the application in the wrong place.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Work Permit?

Processing time is about 2 to 7 months. USCIC will send you a receipt number once you submit your work permit application to USCIS. This receipt number will help you track your application status

What Does a Work Permit Look Like?

Work permits are photo ID cards. They look like driver’s license and they contain your personal information and a validity period.

How Old Do You Have to Get a Work Permit?

Different states in the US require different age limits to apply for a work permit. However, the minimum age to work in the US is 14 years.

Duration and Renewal Process

The duration of a work permit depends on the status of your immigration or your type of visa. However, they are mostly valid for a year.

How to Renew Work Permit

 You can renew a work permit 180 days before the present one expires by:

  1. Filing another Form I-765 with evidence that you are eligible for a work permit. 
  2. Attaching all the listed documents above and 
  3. Paying the necessary renewal fees

FAQs on How to Get a Work Permit

How long does a USA work permit take?

The application generally takes about five to seven months.

What is the benefit of a USA work permit?

Such benefits include good pay for work done and the right to fair labor practices in the United States

Is it easy to get a work permit in us?

It is relatively easy if you take the necessary processes to apply for it and avoid mistakes while doing so.

What is the difference between work permits and visas?

Work permits authorize you to live and work in the US for any employer while Work Visa permits you to work for a particular employer. The employer makes the application and it is valid as long as you’re working for that employer.

How can I expedite a work permit application?

You can do this by applying early enough, meeting all the requirements, and having the complete documents to apply.

Conclusion on How to Get a Work Permit

A work permit is necessary to work in the US as an immigrant without a Green Card as this opens you up to all the labor rights of the average working person in the United States. Also, failure to acquire a work permit exposes you to dire consequences and sanctions that could ruin your relationship with the country.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About How to Apply for a Work Permit in the USA?

To get the right information and guidance, you can reach our experienced immigration attorney by dialing 914-481-8822. An attorney will provide you with information, advice, and guidance about applying for a work permit

Posted byCynthia Ude


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