Permission to work in the US

An employment authorization document (EAD, Form I-766), known as a work permit, is a document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that provides its holder a legal right to work in the United States. An EAD is issued for a specific period of time based on alien’s immigration situation. Foreign nationals with an EAD can lawfully work in the United States for any employer.

Aliens who are sponsored by US employers and issued temporary work visas for such as H, I, L-1 or O-1 visas are authorized to work for the sponsoring employer, through the duration of the visa. This is known as ‘employment incident to status.’ Aliens on such work visas do not qualify for an EAD according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service regulations.

Who May Apply for EAD:

Asylee and their spouse and children. If you are granted asylum you may work immediately. Some asylees choose to obtain EAD for convenience or identification purposes, but an EAD is not necessary to work if you are an asylee. Asylum applicant with a pending asylum application must wait at least 150 days following the filling of the asylum application before he is eligible to apply for an EAD. Any delay in processing the asylum application that is caused by a foreign national, including unexcused failure to appear for fingerprinting and other biometrics capture, will not be counted as part of that 150 days. If the foreign national fails to appear for his asylum interview or for a hearing before an immigration judge, he will be ineligible for an EAD. If the foreign national has received a recommended approval for a grant of asylum, he does not need to wait the 150 days and may apply for an EAD immediately upon receipt of the recommended approval.

Refugee and their spouse and children. Refugee may work immediately upon arrival to the United States. When refugee is admitted to the United States he will receive a Form I-94 containing a refugee admission stamp. Additionally, an Application for Employment Authorization will be filed in order for the refugee to receive an EAD. While waiting for the EAD, refugee can present his Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to his employer as proof of his permission to work in the United States.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS). EAD is issued to an individual granted TPS under 8 CFR 244 or as a temporary treatment benefit under TPS.

F-1 Student. F-1 student can apply for an EAD when seeking a pre-completion or post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) in an occupation directly related to studies; or OPT 17-month extension for STEM Students (Students With a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics); or a student seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship.

J-2 Spouse or Minor Child of Exchange Visitor. Spouse and children can work only if it is not for support of principal J-1 and spouse is not also a J-1. Employment request is authorized for the length of J-1’s stay or 4 years, whichever is shorter. A detailed statement and evidence must be submitted to show that employment is not necessary to support the J-1 but for other purposes.

M-1 Student Seeking Practical Training After Completing Studies.  M-1 students are eligible for one month for every four months of study Optional Practical Training. M-1 student must file an application for EAD.

Dependent of A-1/A-2/G-1/G-3/G-4. Dependent EAD must be submitted through the diplomatic mission or international organization to the Department of State (DOS). The DOS will forward all favorably endorsed applications directly to the Nebraska Service Center for adjudication.

B-1 Nonimmigrant Who Is the Personal or Domestic Servant of a Nonimmigrant Employer. Evidence that a foreign national’s employer is a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, R, or TN nonimmigrant and a foreign national was employed for at least 1 year before the employer entered the United States, or your employer regularly employs personal and domestic servants and has done so for a period of years before coming to the United States. Foreign national has either worked for this employer as a personal or domestic servant for at least 1 year, or evidence that the foreign national has at least 1 year experience as a personal or domestic servant; and the foreign national has a residence abroad that he has no intention of abandoning.

B-1 Nonimmigrant Domestic Servant of a U.S. Citizen. Evidence from the employer that he is a U.S. citizen and has a permanent home abroad or is stationed outside the United States and is temporarily visiting the United States or the citizen’s current assignment in the United States will not be longer than 4 years; and he has employed the foreign national as a domestic servant abroad for at least 6 months prior to the foreign national’s admission to the United States.

Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee. A foreign national has to submit evidence of the lawful status and evidence of marriage to a principal L-1. Other relatives or dependents of L-1 aliens who are in L status are not eligible for EAD and may not file for the EAD.

Spouse of an E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader or Investor or Spouse of an E-3 Certain Specialty of Occupation Professional from Australia. A foreign national has to submit evidence of his lawful status and evidence of marriage to a principal E-1/E-2, and a copy of the principal’s visa.

Spouse of an E-2 CNMI Investor. A foreign national has to submit evidence of his lawful status and evidence of marriage to principal E-2 CNMI Investor, and a copy of the principal E-2 CNMI Investors long-term business certificate or Foreign Investment Certificate.

K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancée of U.S. Citizen or K-2 Dependent. Application for the EAD can be filed within 90 days from the date of entry. This EAD cannot be renewed.

K-3 Nonimmigrant Spouse of U.S. Citizen or K-4 Dependent can apply for the EAD with copies of passport, I-94 and K visa.

EAD Applicants Who Have Filed for Adjustment of Status. An application for the EAD can be submitted either together with the adjustment of status application or along with a copy of the receipt notice or other evidence that the application for permanent residence or adjust status is pending.

Granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal. The foreign national can apply for the EAD with a copy of the Immigration Judge’s order.

Paroled in the Public Interest. If a foreign national was paroled into the United States for emergent reasons or reasons strictly in the public interest he can apply for the EAD.

USCIS issues EADs for the following reasons:

  • As proof that the foreign national is allowed to work in the United States for a specific time period or while he has a specific immigration status
  • To renew an EAD that has expired
  • To replace an EAD