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Work Permit Applications for Immigration

Individuals wishing to obtain a visa or change status must complete work permit applications for immigration.

A good immigration attorney will know how to navigate these complex forms. We can help you file the correct forms that apply to your unique situation. This will ensure that all documents are filed correctly and you can proceed with your case smoothly.

What is a work permit?

A work permit, also called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is a visa-like card that shows you’re allowed to legally work in the United States. The EAD is usually valid for 1 or 2 years.

Work permits are often a prerequisite for some immigration categories, such as DACA recipients and asylees. They can also be applied for by students doing Optional Practical Training or F-1 student workers who need to work off campus.

Once USCIS has reviewed and approved the application, they will mail the EAD to the applicant. In the event that a work permit application is denied, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer about possible alternatives and next steps. This includes finding out whether the denial was because of a mistake or an eligibility reason, and how to reapply.

Who can apply for a work permit?

There are many categories of people who can—and must, if they want to work—apply for a work permit from USCIS. These include K-1 fiance visa holders, asylees, individuals with a pending application for adjustment of status (to become a green card holder), spouses of certain visa holders, students applying for optional practical training, and people in Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

Each of these categories has its own specific guidelines and requirements. The general rule is that you must fill out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Normally, you submit this form to the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over your category. You may also need to provide supporting documentation. In some cases, your request for a work permit might be denied.

How do I apply for a work permit?

A work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), grants permission to work in the United States. It is issued by USCIS, and looks like a driver’s license.

EADs are granted to certain classes of immigrants, including DACA recipients and asylum seekers. Generally, the process of applying for an EAD takes about 15 months.

You can file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with USCIS, along with the necessary documents and fees. It’s important to apply for an EAD before your current work authorization expires. This will prevent a gap in your employment and will give you more time to become a naturalized citizen. You can pay the filing fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

What happens if I don’t get a work permit?

Not everyone can work in the United States, and if you work without permission it could cause serious problems down the road. Those on visitor visas, as well as some people applying for green cards through adjustment of status, need to apply for a work permit (known as an Employment Authorization Document or EAD) before they can start working.

Not all visa holders need to do this, though. If you are a legal permanent resident, you don’t need to file for an EAD. Instead, you can show your green card to employers as proof that you are allowed to work in the United States. Employers who discriminate against employees based on their immigration status can be punished by USCIS. This is why it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney about your specific case.

How can I get a work permit if I’ve been rejected?

Working unauthorizedly in the United States can be risky. It can affect your immigration status and even lead to deportation, depending on the type of unauthorized work and the country in which you’re employed.

Typically, refugees and asylees do not need to apply for a work permit because they can show an unrestricted Social Security card and driver’s license when asked by their employer. However, if these documents are lost, they may wish to submit an expedited request with USCIS.

The request to expedite should be based on an error in the application or law that led to the original decision. It is important that the application contains compelling arguments backed by immigration regulations and laws. An experienced attorney can assist with this process.


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