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For immigrants in the United States, obtaining a work permit, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is often a critical step in securing legal employment and pursuing their career goals. In this blog post, we will outline the key requirements for obtaining a work permit in the United States as an immigrant.
- Eligible Immigration Status To qualify for it in the United States, you must be in a specific immigration category that allows for employment. Common categories that may make you eligible for an EAD include:
- Asylum Seeker or Refugee: Individuals who have been granted asylum or refugee status can typically apply for a work permit one year after their grant of asylum or arrival in the United States.
- Adjustment of Status Applicants: If you are applying for lawful permanent resident (Green Card) status within the United States, you may be eligible for a work permit while your application is pending.
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Recipients: Certain countries experiencing political turmoil or natural disasters may be designated for TPS, allowing eligible nationals from those countries to apply for work permits.
- DACA Recipients: Individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) can obtain an EAD that is valid for two years, with the option to renew.
- Fiancé(e) Visa Holders: Fiancé(e) visa holders can apply for a work permit after their arrival in the United States and before their marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner.
- Dependents of Certain Visa Holders: Spouses and dependent children of certain temporary visa holders, such as H-1B, L-1, and E visa holders, may also be eligible for work permits.
- File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization The primary document required to apply for a work permit is Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This form can be downloaded from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. You must complete this form accurately and provide all necessary supporting documents.
- Pay the Application Fee USCIS requires payment of an application fee when submitting Form I-765. The fee amount may vary, so check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information. Fee waivers may be available for eligible individuals.
- Provide Supporting Documentation Along with Form I-765, you will typically need to provide supporting documents, which may include:
- Proof of your immigration status and eligibility category.
- Passport-style photographs.
- Copies of any previously issued EADs, if applicable.
- Any required fees or fee waiver requests.
- Additional evidence specific to your eligibility category (e.g., marriage certificate, TPS designation documentation, or pending Green Card application receipt).
- Submit Your Application Mail your completed Form I-765, supporting documents, and payment to the appropriate USCIS address, as indicated in the form instructions. USCIS will review your application, conduct background checks, and issue the work permit if approved.
- Biometrics Appointment (if required) Some applicants may be required to attend a biometrics appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center to provide fingerprints and photographs for background checks.
- Await Approval Once USCIS approves your EAD application, they will issue the work permit. The EAD will specify the validity period and any limitations on your employment.
Obtaining it in the United States as an immigrant requires meeting specific eligibility criteria, submitting the necessary forms and supporting documents, and paying the applicable fees. It’s essential to stay informed about the latest USCIS requirements and procedures, and consider seeking legal advice or assistance to ensure a smooth application process. A work permit can open doors to employment opportunities and help immigrants achieve their career goals while maintaining legal status in the United States.