FAQs on How to Apply for a Work Permit in the United States

November 16, 2021


If you are a foreigner and you intend to work in the United States but you are not a permanent resident or a naturalized American citizen, you must apply for a work permit better known as EAD (Employment Authorization), as long as you are eligible for a work permit and in accordance to the immigration status you apply.

What is an EAD (Employment Authorization)?

The EAD Employment Authorization for its acronym, is an identity document issued by the United States Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

This document is very similar to a driver’s license. Thanks to this identification, holders can present it to employers and prove their legal right to work. In theory, all American employers must request proof of their workers’ immigration status or right to work each time they hire a new employee.

If I am illegal, can I apply for a work permit?

A work permit by itself, No.

In order for you to have a work permit, you need to apply for a legal immigration status that grants you the benefit of Employment Authorization.

Which immigration status can I have a work permit?

You can be a beneficiary of a work permit if you apply in any of the following immigration statuses

 •  Asylum with status granted or pending

 • People with approved humanitarian visa (U Visa, T Visa)

• Political refugees, their spouses and children

• Immigrants in the United States who are processing Permanent Residence

 • 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

• Boyfriends and husbands of US citizens

• Persons with suspension or removal of deportation

• People with DACA

• People with VAWA

What is the difference between a Work VISA and a work PERMIT?


The H-1B work VISA is a visa for specialized jobs where the employer makes the application before the immigration office (USCIS) and once it is authorized, the prospective worker makes the application for admission to the United States. The prospective worker MUST remain in their country of origin throughout the process, until the H-1B Visa is granted, they can enter the United States.

Instead, the EAD work PERMIT is granted to individuals who can be already physically remain in the United States and who have an APPROVED application of an eligible immigration status for a work permit.

How much does the work permit cost?

The EAD  in the USA costs $410. This is the fee for filing Form I-765. However, this amount may vary depending on the type of applicant. Some applicants must pay an additional $85 for the registration of their biometric data.

When must the work permit be renewed?

The EAD must be renewed 3-5 months before its expiration date, the cost is the same and the approximate waiting time is 6 to 13 months. There are exceptions where it is not necessary to pay these amounts, before applying, check your eligibility for the exemption from the payment of rights.

How to obtain a work permit?

Obtaining a working permit or EAD is not as difficult as you might think. What you should consider is to be careful to apply under the corresponding parameters that apply to your case, since the documents requested depend on this factor. Once you have that resolved, you will have to follow the following steps:

           1. Download the official application form for employment authorization I-765

           2. Submit the application by mail, delivering the documents corresponding to your eligibility category.

           3. Pay the fee corresponding to the I-765 form

           4. Receive notifications from the USCIS and show up for the Biometrics appointment if applicable.

           5. Receive your application approval and therefore your EAD card


BEFORE applying for an EAD or work permit, first verify your eligibility with an immigration attorney 


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This article is only for information purposes and does not represent a legal consult.

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