How to Apply for a US Work Permit

Washington, USA. July 8, 2011. The reflaction of demonstrators on a window shop. Woman carrying a pancart with the image of Dr. King and the slogan "We Too Have a Dream" in reference to woman and Litino rights.

Contributed article in our entrepreneurial series. My great-grandparents were immigrants and didn’t speak English, and as a result I strongly support the rich diversity that immigrants bring to the USA. Welcome and enjoy! – Kimberly

Want to work in the US? Here’s some practical advice for people courageous enough to embrace the challenge to moving to a new country.

The process for applying for a US work permit, also known as an employment authorization document (EAD), is quite straightforward. The process involves filling out a one-page form, attaching the fee, photos, and documents to prove that you are eligible, and submitting it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, since the work permit is only available to certain groups of immigrants, the catch is making sure that you are eligible. If you’d like to learn more about how to apply for a US work permit, read on.

Form I-765

The initial form that you will need to fill out in order to apply for a work permit is Form I-765 which you can download from the USCIS website. The form requires you to fill in your name and general contact information, along with additional information such as EB5 funding. Question twelve will require you to detail your most recent entry into the US, and the manner in which you entered the country. Question sixteen will require the most effort, as you will need to use the I-765 instructions detailed on the USCIS website in order to determine which eligibility category you fall into.

Attaching Proof

In order to prove that you qualify for a US work permit, you will need to attach a photocopy of whatever documents you have that shows the status you described in question sixteen on the Form I-765. For example, if you are applying as an asylum seeker you will need to attach the judge’s order granting you asylum, or a copy of the letter from the asylum office. If you are applying as an investor, you might enlist the services of a legal group such as Hirson Immigration. However, you should note that if you are applying for the work permit at the same time as application for status you will not need to include proof of eligibility.

The Fee

As of 2015, the current fee for applying for a US work permit is $380. However, if you are applying after this time it’s important to note that the fee does change and can go up often, so you should check the official website to find out the latest fee. If you plan to request deferred action, you will also need to pay a biometrics fee which is currently $85. Certain categories of applications will not be required to pay the fee, such as those who are also filing to adjust status in order to obtain a green card.

How to Submit Your Application

In order to submit your US work permit application to USCIS, you have two options. You can either send the application by mail, or use e-filing which is an online application. E-filing is a convenient option for payment, however you will also need to send your supporting documents by mail. If you are submitting your application by mail it’s important that you double check the address, as there are different mailing addresses for the various applicant categories.

Have you successfully applied for a US work permit? How did you find the process, and how long did it take? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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