How to get Work permit in USA – USA immigration and work visas

If you have been in search on how to apply for work permit in USA, then search no more for you have landed yourself to a very reliable page article where you will be guided with every requirements and steps for you to get US work permit visa approved.

Working in the U.S. is a sought-after goal for people from across the globe. In most cases, foreign nationals wishing to work in the United States will be required to apply for a U.S. work visa. There are many U.S. work visas available, and applicants must determine which ones they are eligible, and how to apply correctly and prepare documentation.

What is the difference between a Work Permit and a Work Visa?

Many people confuse Employment Authorization Documents (Work Permits) and Work Visas, so if you’re not sure of the difference, you’re not alone.

A Work Visa allows you to live in the U.S. and work for a specific employer. That employer applies for the visa for you, and the visa will be valid for as long as you continue working for that employer. However, you may only work for that employer while in the U.S. If you leave that employer, you will not be able to work for anyone else until you get another immigration status.

Employment Authorization Documents (Work Permits) are not tied to a specific employer. Once you have a Work Permit, you can work for any employer in the U.S. You will need to renew your Work Permit every year, though, and you will only be able to renew if you have an immigration status that allows you to keep working.

U.S. employers must confirm that you are legally authorized to work before they hire you. Once you have a Work Permit, you can show it to potential employers to prove that you can lawfully work in the U.S.

Who isn’t eligible for a Work Permit?

Work permit eligibility is straightforward.

If you are eligible for an immigration status that will allow you to work or have that status already, you can get a Work Permit.

If you aren’t eligible for this type of immigration status, then you can’t get a Work Permit.

Tourists (B-1 visa holders) and undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Work Permits. USCIS will not issue Work Permits to these immigrants, and it is illegal for U.S. employers to hire them.

If you are a B-1 Visa Holder or undocumented immigrant, and need to work in the U.S., speak with a lawyer or legal aid clinic before you do any work. You may be eligible for a status that would allow you to get a Work Permit, and working without a permit can make it impossible for you to obtain that status.

How to apply for a Work Permit (in 5 easy steps)

Now that you understand what Work Permits are and who can get them let’s talk about the application process. There are five easy steps that everyone who applies for a Work Permit must follow.

Step #1 – Apply for an immigration status that will allow you to work

To get a Work Permit, you need to have an immigration status that allows you to work in the U.S. If you already have this type of status, or if you are in the process of applying for it, you can move on to Step #2.

Step #2 – Prepare Form I-765

You will use USCIS Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to apply for a Work Permit.

Form I-765 is pretty simple. You’ll fill in your name, contact information, and information about why you are eligible.

There are only a few tricky questions:

  • Question 22  You need to list your most recent entry into the U.S., even if you have been living here for years and only left for a short trip. “Manner of entry” refers to the visa you used to enter the U.S. after your most recent trip abroad.
  • Question 27 – You need to choose the correct code for the reason you are eligible to work in the U.S. You can find these codes in the Form I-765 instructions. Some of the most common categories are (c)(9) for immigrants who have applied (or are currently applying) for a Green Card, (c)(3)(C) for students doing OPT, (a)(5) for Asylees, (a)(12) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and (c)(5) for spouses of J-1 visa holders.

Step #3 – Prepare your supporting documents

You will need to submit six supporting documents with your Form I-765 to get a Work Permit:

  1. A copy of your passport photo page
  2. A copy of your current U.S. visa (if you are in the United States already). This visa will almost always be in your passport.
  3. A copy of your original Form I-94 travel record (front and back), or a printout of your electronic I-94, from your most recent entry into the U.S. You can get your electronic I-94 online.
  4. Copies of any of your previous work permits (front and back)
  5. Two 2-inch-by-2-inch passport-style photos of yourself taken recently (print your full name and Alien Registration Number on the back of each with a pencil or felt-tip pen)
  6. A copy of the “receipt notice” you received from the U.S. Government when you submitted your immigrant visa application. You only to provide this if you are applying for a Work Permit after you submitted your immigrant visa application. If you apply for permanent residence at the same time as your Work Permit, you do not need to send in a receipt notice.

If you have never had a work permit before, you will also need to send one of the following forms of identification documents with your Form I-765:

  1. A copy of your Birth certificate from your home country and a copy of a photo ID
  2. A copy of a visa you received from a consulate of a country other than the United States
  3. A copy of some other national identity document that has your photo or fingerprint on it.

Step #4 – Pay the filing fee

USCIS charges a $410 fee to process Form I-765. If you are applying for “Deferred Action” (for example, if you are a DACA recipient), you must also pay an $85 biometrics fee. These fees change regularly, so be sure to double-check USCIS’s fee schedule for the most up-to-date amount before you file.

Some immigrants do not need to pay the fee when they file Form I-765. For example, immigrants applying to adjust status to a Green Card do not have to pay the I-765 filing fee. Check the instructions for Form I-765 for a full list of immigrants who do not need to pay the fee.

You can pay the fee by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If you are filing at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you can pay with credit or debit card by submitting Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions with your Form I-765. Service centers can’t process credit card payments.

Step #5 – Submit Your Work Permit application

Once you have completed your Form I-765, assembled your supporting documents, and paid the filing fee, it’s time to submit your application for a Work Permit to USCIS. It is a good idea to include a cover letter with your paperwork so that the government knows precisely what they are receiving from you. There are no specific requirements for cover letters, but you can use this cover letter template as a guide.

You cannot file Form I-765 by mail. That means that if you submit it with an application for immigration status (like a Green Card), you should probably file your entire application by mail. The address where you will send your application depends on where you live, where you want to have any necessary visa interview, your reason for filing Form I-765, and even which mail carrier you use to submit your application. Make sure that you carefully review the USCIS website’s addresses so that you get your application to the correct location.

Make a complete copy of everything in your packet, including the checks, before sending it to USCIS.

How long does it take to get a work permit?

Once you submit your Work Permit application to USCIS, the processing time is usually 5–7 months. However, coronavirus and USCIS budget problems have caused significant application delays in 2020. USCIS will send you a “Receipt Notice” when they receive your paperwork. You should receive this notice 2-3 weeks after you file. Once you receive this notice, you will be able to use the Receipt Number that it provides to track your application status on USCIS’s website.