This guide will help you understand what a work permit or Employment Authorisation is, Who needs a work permit in the U.S.A, How to apply for one, How long does it take to get a work permit and what to do when it expires or is stolen.
The word Work Permit is quite self-explanatory. It basically means the permission to work in the United States.
Foreign Nationals (like us Indians) living in the U.S. cannot work here legally unless they have received the permission to do so under the terms of their visa or other status.
A Work Permit is a photo identity card much like your Pan Card or a Driving License issued by the USCIS and is also known as the Employment Authorization Document or EAD.
Based on the immigration status of the applicant, THE EAD card is issued for a given period of time. Once granted, applicants may legally work anywhere in the U.S. for any employer and without them having to file a non-immigrant worker petition. You may apply for an EAD if you belong to any of the following visa qualifying categories:
H1 spouses are not on the above list because there is an additional condition of them having an approved i-140. However, with an approved i-140 H-1B spouses (H4) can also apply for a work permit.
In order to get an EAD, you need to file a US work permit application form (form I-765). The eligibility requirements to get one vary depending on which visa you have. However, there is some general documentation you need in order to apply:
If you have not been issued a work permit before, you must also submit a copy of one of the following forms of government-issued identification:
Additional documents might include proof of your spouse’s visa status, marriage certificates, or an employment proposal letter.
The filing fee for the US work permit costs 410 USD. In addition to that, you might also need to pay an extra 85 USD for biometric services. Some applicants might be exempt from paying the fees in specific cases.
These days it takes around 5-7 months for USCIS to process work permit. Earlier it used to be processed within 90 days but due a growing backlog, there’s a delay in most applications.
If you already have an EAD and if it is about to expire you can file for a renews EAD with the same for i-765. You need to apply for the renewal before the original expires but the application is not processed more than 6 months prior to the expiration date.
EAD card are replaced for many different reasons. If a card is lost, stolen, or contains incorrect information, it may be necessary to file a new Form I-765 and pay a filing fee. If the USCIS processing center made a mistake when creating the card, the Form and filing fees are not required. In some cases, a fee waiver can be requested for all fees.
Once you have your EAD card, you are now eligible to work for any employer in the United States. Your employer will ask you to share your Social Security as well as your Work Permit (EAD Card) as proof of your eligibility to work in the U.S.
As long as you have a social security number and a work permit, it’s illegal for employers in the United States to discriminate against you because of your immigration status. You’ll be required to pay payroll and income taxes in the United States, just like everyone else.
A lot of people think that it is okay to work without proper documentation. It is not. Working without proper authorization can put your future Green Card application at risk. USCIS will closely scrutinize any green card application from an applicant who has previously worked without authorization.
Unless you have some other immigration status that allows you to work (e.g. H-1B), it’s important that you don’t do any kind of paid work until your work permit has arrived.
You need a work permit to work in the United States
The Work Permit is also known as the EAD. It is in the form of a card that is given for a given amount of time.
Based on your Visa category and status you are eligible for a work permit.
You need to fill the form i-765, submit the necessary fees to get a work permit. Check the documents you need to submit carefully before submitting the application.
It will take around 5-7 months to get your EAD
You can renew it 6 months before it is about to expire.