The United States offers a world of opportunities for anyone seeking employment and career growth, the country houses some of the best companies in the world and they create numerous job opportunities that you can take advantage of and build an amazing career for yourself.
However, before you can legally work in the US, you’ll need a work permit. You have to meet the requirements for a work permit, apply, and get a positive response. This guide will walk you through how to apply for a work permit in the USA.
What is a Work Permit?
In the US, a work permit is also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), it is an official document that allows non-US citizens to legally work in the United States for a specific period.
If you want to work, intern, or participate in practical training within the USA, you need a work permit. Your work permit will be issued to you by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Why do you need a work permit?
In the United States, it’s illegal for non-citizens to work without the appropriate work authorization. Having your work permit before you start working in the US shows that you comply with immigration laws, if you start working without a work permit, you will be putting yourself and your employer in a serious problem.
How to Apply for a work permit in the USA
Before you can apply for a work permit in the US, you have to meet the eligibility requirements, apply, and wait for a decision on your application.
Check if you are eligibility
One thing you should note about getting a US work permit is that not everyone is eligible for a work permit in the USA.
In addition, the eligibility criteria vary, it depends on your immigration status and the type of employment you seek.
Below are the different categories under which you can apply for a work permit.
- Employment-based categories: If you have a specific job offer from a US employer, you will be eligible for a work permit in categories such as H-1B, L-1, or O-1.
- Family-based categories: If you have a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Asylum seekers and refugees: If you have been granted asylum or refugee status in the US, you can apply for a work permit.
- DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients: If you are an undocumented person and came to the US as a child, you can be eligible for a work permit through DACA.
You need to confirm if you are eligible for a work permit under any of the categories before applying, you cannot apply if you are not eligible.
Prepare your document
Once you’ve confirmed that you are eligible for a work permit in the US, it’s time to gather the necessary documents for your work permit application.
Commonly required documents
The documents you need for your work permit application depend on your eligibility category, you will need:
- Form I-765, application for employment authorization: This is the primary form for applying for a work permit in the US.
- Supporting documents: This depends on your situation, you will need a copy of your passport, visa, I-94 record, and any other relevant immigration documents.
- Passport-sized photos: You need two recently taken passport-sized photos.
- Filing fee: You also need to pay an application fee.
Complete the Application
After gathering all the required documents, you need to complete the application form, when filling out your form, ensure you provide accurate information.
Follow these steps:
- Download Form I-765: You can get the most recent version of Form I-765 from the USCIS website.
- Fill out the form: Carefully complete all sections of the form. Be honest and accurate when filing the form.
- Double-check for errors: Review your form for any errors or missing information.
- Prepare a cover letter: Write a cover letter, in the cover letter, explain the purpose of your application and any additional supporting documents.
- Submit your application: Once you are done with your application, mail your application, including the form, supporting documents, and filing fee, to the appropriate USCIS address.
Wait for processing
After submitting your application, you need to wait for USCIS to process it. Processing times can take long, so be patient.
Check your application status
If you wish to monitor the progress of your application, you can track the status of your application online through the USCIS website.
Receive your work permit
Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your work permit in the mail. Congratulations! With your work permit, you’re now legally authorized to work in the USA.
If as an immigrant, you have not gotten your work permit, you are not allowed to work in the United States, working without proper authorization is a serious crime. If you get caught, you can be deported or banned from entering the US. If you wish to work in the country, follow the steps in this guide and get your work permit.
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