Work permit in the USA: What is it and how to obtain it?

Many people wish to start a new life outside their home countries. In this sense, working and living in first world countries such as the United States is a dream that many immigrants seek to fulfill. However, it is important to know that a work permit is required to work legally in the USA.

In this article, you will find all the necessary information about the work permit in the USA: what it is, how to get it and how long it lasts. Read on!

What is a work permit?

This is a document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The U.S. work permit is also known as Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and allows certain individuals to work legally in the United States. That is, those interested must qualify for an immigration process and meet all the necessary requirements.

This document is intended for U.S. employers to ensure that all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are authorized to work legally in the United States. This is why, if you wish to work in the United States as a foreigner, you need to have your documentation up to date and legalized.

How to obtain a work permit in the USA?

Below you will find the steps to follow to obtain your work permit in the USA:

  • Download Form I-765

This is the document to be completed. It is available for free download on the USCIS website.

  • Complete the Form

You must complete in English, sign and file Form I-765. With the data provided in the form, all the evidence and supporting documentation necessary for the application is created.

Please note that, although most of the form is just a matter of filling in your personal data and no further explanation is needed, it is advisable to have professional advice from an immigration lawyer in order to avoid complications in the future.

work permit in the US

  • File the application with USCIS

Deliver the documents corresponding to your case by mail. The mailing address varies according to the type of application and immigration status. This is why we suggest that you pay attention to the website to know which address you should use to send your request. In some categories, online submission is allowed.

  • Pay filing fees

Caution: this is only if the case warrants it. The amount may vary according to the type of applicant. Fees can be paid by money order, check or credit card. However, we recommend that you check the USCIS website for updated figures, as these fees change frequently.

It is important to clarify that the work permit application must be submitted and approved before you begin your work activity.

Who must apply for a work permit in the USA?

This process is intended primarily for those who are already in the process of applying for an adjustment of status or Green Card. It is also aimed at people who already have some type of visa or temporary permit that allows them to stay in the United States. In other words, the work permit in the USA is available to a limited group of immigrants according to their immigration status.

In this regard, there are several categories of visas that can be applied for when applying for a work permit in the USA. Below you will find a list of persons who can apply:

  • Persons with approved humanitarian visa (U Visa, T Visa)
  • Political refugees, their spouses and children
  • Immigrants in the U.S. who are applying for a Green Card
  • Visa students seeking a particular type of employment
  • Spouses or minor children of exchange visitors
  • Citizens of certain countries with Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Some foreign government officials
  • Fiancés and spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Persons with suspension or removal from deportation
  • DACA recipients
  • People with VAWA

Is it possible to obtain a work permit for undocumented immigrants in the USA?

No. In order to apply for and obtain a work permit, you must first apply for legal immigration status. This will give you the benefit of being able to work legally in the United States.

Urbina Immigration Law Services in Georgia indocumentados - Urbina Immigration Law.

How long does a work permit last in the USA?

The duration of a work permit varies according to the visa category in which a person qualifies. For example, in the case of H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and O-1 visas, the duration period is 3 years. H-1A and H-3 visas are valid for 1 year. However, it should be noted that all work permits may be renewed for additional periods of time.

You should also remember that it is essential to respect the deadline you have been given. Otherwise, you may be affected to apply for it in the future.


If you are a foreign national and wish to work legally in the United States, it is important to have a valid U.S. work permit. We know that initiating a procedure in a foreign country is often a complicated task, that is why Urbina Law is always available for the migrant community.

If you or someone you know would like help with this process, please call our office at 770-343-4821. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news.