How to Get Authorized to Work in the US

Learn about the legal requirements and process for obtaining work authorization in the United States.

How to Get Authorized to Work in the US

Working in the United States can be a dream come true for many people, offering opportunities for professional growth and financial stability. However, it's important to have the proper authorization to work legally in the U.S. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit, which serves as proof that an individual has permission to work in the U.S. for a specified period of time.

What is a Work Authorization?

A work authorization, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is a formal document issued by the USCIS that allows individuals to work in the United States for a set amount of time. The EAD also doubles as a photo identification card, similar to a driver's license. It is important to note that regardless of citizenship or country of origin, all employees in the U.S. are required to provide documentation authorizing their employment.

How to Obtain Authorization to Work in the U.S.

To obtain authorization to work in the U.S., you need to follow these steps:

File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: To apply for an EAD, you must fill out Form I-765, which is the official application for employment authorization. This form can be filed if you are authorized to work in the U.S. due to your immigration status, such as being an asylee, refugee, or U nonimmigrant and need proof of employment authorization. It can also be filed if you are asked to apply for a work permit or have a non-immigrant visa that allows you to work for a specific employer.

Submit Supporting Documentation: When filing Form I-765, you may need to attach supporting documentation that demonstrates your eligibility for employment authorization. This documentation may vary depending on your immigration status and individual circumstances.

Qualifications for Applying for Authorization to Work in the U.S.: The qualifications for obtaining employment authorization in the U.S. depend on your immigration status. Generally, you may be authorized to work if you fall into one of the following categories:

You have the authorization to work incident to your status with no limitations.

You have the authorization to work incident to your status with limitations.

You have no authorization to work incident to your status but are otherwise eligible to work.

It's important to note that obtaining and maintaining valid work authorization in the U.S. can be a complex process that requires careful attention to documentation and individual circumstances.


If you are interested in working in the United States, it is crucial to obtain proper authorization to work legally. This may involve obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS, submitting the necessary forms and supporting documentation, and meeting the qualifications for employment authorization based on your immigration status. Failure to obtain proper authorization can have severe repercussions. If you have questions or need assistance with the process, it is recommended to consult with a qualified immigration attorney or authorized representative to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q: Who is eligible to work in the US?

A: Generally, US citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), and individuals with valid work visas are eligible to work in the US. Non-citizens must obtain proper authorization before they can work in the US.

Q: What is a work visa?

A: A work visa is a document issued by the US government that allows non-citizens to work in the US for a specific period of time. There are different types of work visas, such as H-1B for skilled workers, L-1 for intracompany transferees, and E-1/E-2 for treaty traders/investors, among others.

Q: How can I get a work visa?

A: In general, to obtain a work visa, you need to have a US employer who is willing to sponsor you. Your employer will typically file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. The process and requirements vary depending on the type of work visa you are applying for. It's recommended to seek legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the complex visa application process.

Q: What are the requirements for obtaining a work visa?

A: The requirements for obtaining a work visa vary depending on the type of visa, but generally, you need to demonstrate that you have a valid job offer from a US employer, possess the necessary qualifications or skills for the job, and that hiring you will not adversely affect US workers. Your employer may also need to undergo a labor certification process in certain cases. Additionally, you may need to pass background checks and medical examinations as part of the visa application process.

Q: Can I work in the US without a visa?

A: In most cases, you must have a valid work visa or employment authorization to work legally in the US as a non-citizen. However, there are some limited exceptions, such as certain types of temporary work that may not require a visa, such as work covered under the Visa Waiver Program or NAFTA. It's important to understand the specific requirements and limitations of these exceptions, and it's always best to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure compliance with US immigration laws.

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