International Information: Part I

by | March 31, 2009

How Do I Get a Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document)?

What is an Employment Authorization Document?U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to prove you may work in the United States.

The INS issues Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) in the following categories:

  • EAD: This document proves your are allowed to work in the United States.
  • Renewal EAD: You should apply for a renewal EAD six months before your original EAD expires.
  • Replacement EAD: This document replaces a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD. A replacement EAD also replaces an EAD that was issued with incorrect information, such as a misspelled name.
  • Interim EAD: If INS does not approve or deny your EAD application within 90 days (within 30 days for an asylum applicant), you may request an interim EAD document.
Who is Eligible?

The specific categories that require an Employment Authorization Document include (but are not limited to) asylees and asylum seekers; refugees; students seeking particular types of employment; applicants to adjust to permanent residence status; people in or applying for temporary protected status; fiance's of American citizens; and dependents of foreign government officials. Please see INS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) for a complete list of the categories of people who must apply for an Employment Authorization Document to be able to work in the United States.

~If you are a lawful permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your Alien Registration Card proves that you may work in the United States.

If you are authorized to work for a specific employer, such as a foreign government, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your passport and your INS Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) proves that you may work in the United States.

How Do I Apply?You must file an INS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) by mail with the INS Regional Service Center that serves the area where you live.

If INS does not approve or deny your Employment Authorization Document application within 90 days (within 30 days for an asylum applicant), you may request an interim Employment Authorization Document. You must go to your local INS district office and bring with you proof of your identity and any documents that INS has sent you about your employment authorization application.

Can Anyone Help Me?If you need advice, you may contact the INS District Office near your home for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit.

Filed Under: Job Search


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