US Work Permits: Things You Must Know

Many people dream of working and settling down in America. The idea that a better, improved life is possible in the USA drives millions of people to leave their country and become US citizens or green card holders. 

Also, America is a great place to work because:

  • It is a multicultural country with inviting, friendly people 
  • Some of the biggest companies in the world have their offices in the USA
  • Food is not a problem as the country offers delicacies from every corner of the globe 

If you are still on the fence about coming to the USA to have a successful career, you can go through This website is the ultimate handbook of benefits in America. 

Immigrants working in the USA need a work permit, and that’s what this guide focuses on. Continue reading. 

What is a US Work Permit or EAD?

Whether you are an immigrant living in the USA or a foreign national wanting to come to the USA, you need permission from the US government to work. This permission comes in the form of an EAD or Employment Authorization Document. EADs are commonly called employment authorization cards or work permits. 

Work permits are issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and they are photo identification cards that appear like a driver’s license. 

Difference Between a Work Permit and a Work Visa 

Most people need clarification on these terms. Here’s the difference between them so you have a better understanding. 

Work Permit Work Visa 
Work permits are tied to a specific employer. Once you have a work permit, you can work for anybody in the USA. You can even renew your permit. A work visa lets you live in the US and work for a specific employer. The employer applies the visa for you and it is valid for as long as you work for that employer. If you leave that employer, you cannot work for anyone else until you get another immigration status. 
Work permits are valid for up to a year and can be renewed. Work visas are typically valid for a year and you can renew it while still in the country. If you leave the US with an expired work visa, you cannot re-enter the country until your visa is renewed. 
Application is generally completed by people already in the country. Application is required before entering the country. 
Issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Issued by a consulate or embassy. 

Eligibility for Getting a work permit in the USA

Form I-765 must be filled out to obtain a work permit. This form is also known as an Application for Employment Authorization. 

You must not confuse this form with Form I-766, the official form name of the actual EAD. 

If you are employed in the USA with a non-immigrant visa (such as an H-1B) or have a green card, you don’t have to apply for an EAD. This is because your visa already authorizes you to work. 

You are eligible to submit Form I-765 if you meet these requirements:

  • If you are waiting for your asylum or green card application to go through 
  • If you are in the USA on a non-immigrant visa that lets you work but first requires you to get a work permit 

What is the Cost?

At present, the cost of applying for a work permit is $410. To have your biometrics taken, you may have to pay an additional $85. 

Steps to apply for a US Work Permit 

All work permit applicants must fill up Form I-765, but the types of evidence required will depend on your situation. 

For instance, if an F-1 student is seeking work off-campus because of financial difficulties, they will need to attach the following evidence:

  • Proof that the job will not interfere with your studies 
  • Documentation proving you are an F-1 student for a full academic year 
  • Documents showing you have a full course load 
  • Proof that the job will help sidestep that economic hardship you are facing

So, depending on your specific situation, you have to check the evidence you must submit with the form. But by and large, you must attach the following with Form I-765:

  • A copy of your password, especially the page containing your photo 
  • I-94 travel record 
  • If applicable, copies of other work permits 
  • Two 2X2 passport-style photos 
  • Copy of your US visa, which can be found in your passport

If your green card application is pending, you must attach proof. You can even file for a work permit and green card simultaneously. 

The Bottom Line 

This is what you must know before applying for a work permit in the USA. If this is your first time working in America, you must get an SSN (social security number) as soon as you get your work permit. 

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