Written by Avvo Staff

How to Acquire a Non-Citizen Work Permit

Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document) | EAD Card

If you are not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, you must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card, or work permit) to be eligible for employment in the United States. The EAD card is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The EAD card is valid for two years and has to be renewed. U.S. employers are required by law to check the status of all workers, regardless of national origin, to be sure they are allowed to work in the U.S. In order to work for a U.S. employer as a foreign citizen, you must obtain a work permit through the United States Immigration Office.

Who Needs a Work Permit?

  • People seeking asylum or who have been granted asylum
  • Refugees
  • Non-citizen students seeking paid employment
  • Applicants seeking permanent resident status
  • People seeking temporary protected status or who have been granted temporary protected status
  • Fiancés of American Citizens
  • Dependents of foreign government officials

How do I apply?

If you are eligible to file for a work permit, you may file electronically or by mail. The form you need to fill out is known as Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). To file electronically, you can register with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department and create an e-filing account. If you wish to file by mail, you may request Form I-765 by calling the USCIS at 1-800-870-3676, or download the form. You must fill out the form completely and submit all requested documentation, photos, and fees. Processing locations vary depending on your legal status. If you require any assistance or advice in completing the required paperwork, you can contact your local USCIS Office for a list of community-based, non-profit groups who specialize in helping people apply for immigration benefits. Also, you can hire a qualified immigration attorney to assist in completing all the necessary forms.

Additional Resources:

Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765 (Work Permit/Application for Employment Authorization)

E-Filing for Form I-765

Download and Print I-765

USCIS Work Permit Information

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