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  • Writer's pictureMauricio Torres Sanchez

Work Authorization in the United States

What is work authorization and what documents authorize you to work?

A United States work permit, also known as an EAD (Employment Authorization Document), allows foreign nationals to work legally in any field in the U.S., even if they do not have a specific work visa. However, this authorization is only granted on a temporary basis. If the person wants to have permanent work authorization, they must apply for permanent status through a work-based or family-based immigrant visa or Green Card.

What is the application process to obtain an EAD?

  1. First of all, the foreign citizen must qualify to apply for this permit. Some of the most common applicants include:

    1. Non-citizens with pending Adjustment of Status applications.

    2. Non-citizens who meet the extraordinary circumstances requirements established by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services (USCIS).

    3. If you are an applicant or dependent of an asylum seeker in the country.

  2. Then the applicant must fill out Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and send it to USCIS, along with the required documents and applicable filing fees.

The validity of an EAD and the ability to renew it may vary depending on the applicant's eligibility category. Please be mindful that if you have lost your EAD for any reason, you can also apply for a replacement.

What other documents authorize a non-citizen to work?

After accepting a new job, a non-citizen must complete the employee section of the USCIS Form I-9. They then have three working days to present their new employer with documents proving that they are in fact authorized to work. Along with an EAD, there are several documents approved by USCIS to demonstrate work authorization:

  • An unexpired foreign passport with an ADIT or I-551 stamp.

  • An alien registration card or permanent resident card (Green Card).

  • An unexpired employment authorization card (EAD).

  • Certain Forms I-94 included as part of a Notice of Action (Form I-797).

  • An unexpired foreign passport with Form I-94 containing certain non-immigrant status.

If you have any questions about obtaining an Employment Authorization Document or if you do not know whether you qualify to apply for one, do not hesitate to contact one of our lawyers. We will be happy to help you!

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