How to Obtain Work Authorization in the US
If you want to work in the United States, it is essential to have the necessary authorization to do so. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) or work permits to individuals who are qualified to work in the country.
What is a Work Authorization?
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a photo ID that serves as proof of permission to work in the U.S. for a set period. All U.S. companies must verify that their employees are authorized to work in the country, regardless of their citizenship or country of origin. Having an EAD is one way to demonstrate your eligibility.
Qualifications for Applying for Work Authorization
The process of obtaining a valid work authorization in the U.S. can be challenging, and it can be difficult to maintain and provide documentary proof of your eligibility to work. Generally, you may be authorized to work in the U.S. if you fall into one of these categories:
- If you have the authorization to work incident to your status with no limitations
- If you have the authorization to work incident to your status with limitations
- If you have no authorization to work incident to your status but are otherwise eligible to work.
How to Apply for Work Authorization
To obtain an EAD, you must fill out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. You will need to apply for an EAD if you are authorized to work in the U.S. because of your immigration status (such as being an asylee, refugee, or U nonimmigrant) and need proof of employment authorization. You must also apply for an EAD if you are asked to apply for a work permit.
However, if you are a permanent resident, your Green Card, Form I-551, is proof of your employment authorization, and you do not need to apply for an EAD. Similarly, if you have a non-immigrant visa that allows you to work for a specific employer, you do not need to apply for an EAD.
Working in the United States can be a dream come true, but it is important to have the proper authorization to do so legally. If you are unsure about whether you are eligible to work in the U.S., contact the USCIS for guidance. Remember, attempting to work without authorization can have severe consequences.