How to Apply for Work Permit in the United States

Are you an international worker dreaming of pursuing Work Permit in the United States? Securing a work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is your ticket to work in the country for a designated period legally. Without this essential document, you risk deportation and being barred from re-entering the United States.

Navigating the application process can seem daunting, but it’s achievable with the correct information and guidance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of applying for a work permit in the United States, from eligibility criteria to renewal procedures.

Understanding Work Permit in the United States:

Before diving into the application process of a Work Permit in the United States. Also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), a work permit is a legal document that grants non-citizens the right to work in the United States for a specified period. It’s a crucial requirement for foreign workers, providing not only authorization to work but also facilitating essential tasks like obtaining a social security number for banking and tax purposes.

Eligibility Criteria of Work Permit in the United States:

Eligibility for a work permit in the United States varies based on several factors, including immigration status and employment category. Generally, the following categories of foreign workers may be eligible for a work permit:

  1. Refugees and Asylees
  2. Temporary Employees
  3. International Students
  4. Permanent Residents or Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Each category has its own set of qualifying criteria, and it’s essential to determine your eligibility before proceeding with the application.

Application Process:

Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of applying for a Work Permit in the United States:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Assess your eligibility based on your immigration status and employment category.
  2. Gather the required documents: Collect all necessary documents, including Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), passport photos, proof of eligibility, and any additional paperwork specified for your category.
  3. Complete Form I-765: Fill out Form I-765 wholly and accurately, following the instructions provided.
  4. Pay Fees: Check the current fee for filing Form I-765 and submit the payment along with your application.
  5. Submit Application: Mail the completed application form, supporting documents, and fee payment to the appropriate address provided in the form instructions. Alternatively, eligible applicants can apply online through the USCIS website.
  6. Wait for Processing: After submitting your application, await a receipt notice from USCIS confirming receipt of your application. Processing times vary but typically take several months.
  7. Attend Biometrics Appointment: Depending on your category, you may need to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures.
  8. Attend Interview (if Required): Certain categories of applicants may be required to participate in an interview to discuss their eligibility and application.
  9. Receive Decision: USCIS will review your application and notify you of their decision. If approved, you will receive your work permit by mail.
  10. Obtain a Work Permit: Once you receive your work permit (EAD), you can legally work in the United States for the specified period.

Types of Work Permit in the United States:

Certainly! Here’s a breakdown of the various types of work permits available for foreign workers in the United States:

Employment Authorization Document (EAD):

  • The most common work permit in the United States allows foreign workers to work for any employer for a specified period.
  • Issued by the USA Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

H-1B Visa:

  • Temporary work visas are available for individuals in specialty occupations requiring specialized knowledge.
  • Typically sponsored by U.S. employers.
  • Valid for up to three years, with the possibility of extension for another three years.

L-1 Visa:

  • Temporary work visas for intracompany transferees allow multinational companies to transfer employees to their U.S. offices.
  • Divided into L-1A for managers and executives and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.

TN Visa:

  • Temporary work visa for Canadian and Mexican nationals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • Available for specific professional occupations.
  • Valid for up to three years and renewable indefinitely in three-year increments.

O-1 Visa:

  • Temporary work visas are available for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in their field, including sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • Requires extensive documentation of the applicant’s exceptional qualifications.

P-1 Visa:

  • Temporary work visa for internationally recognized athletes, artists, and entertainers.
  • Divided into P-1A for athletes and P-1B for artists and entertainers.

E-1 Visa:

  • Treaty trader visa for individuals engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and their country of nationality.
  • It requires the existence of a navigation and treaty of commerce between the U.S. and the applicant’s country.

E-2 Visa:

  • Treaty investor visa for individuals making a substantial investment in a U.S. business.
  • It requires the existence of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the U.S. and the applicant’s country.

Optional Practical Training (OPT):

  • Available to international students on an F-1 visa, allowing them to work in the U.S. in their field of study for up to 12 months after completing their degree.
  • For STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students, it can be extended for 24 months.

J-1 Visa:

  • Exchange visitor visas for individuals participating in work- and study-based exchange programs.
  • Includes internships, research scholars, professors, and au pairs.

Green Card (Permanent Residence):

  • Provides foreign workers with permanent residency status in the U.S., allowing them to live and work indefinitely.
  • Available through various avenues, including employment sponsorship, family sponsorship, refugee or asylee status, and the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Work Permit in the United States Renewal and Termination:

Remember that work permits are typically valid for a certain period. To continue working legally in the United States, you must renew your work permit before it expires. Renewal involves:

  • Submitting Form I-765 and required documentation.
  • Undergoing any necessary background checks or biometrics appointments.
  • Waiting for USCIS to process your application.

Failure to renew your work permit on time or meet eligibility criteria can result in its termination, leading to potential deportation.


Obtaining a work permit in the United States is a significant milestone for international workers, opening doors to employment opportunities and contributing to the American economy.

By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and renewal procedures outlined in this guide, you can navigate the complexities of obtaining a work permit with confidence.

Your dream of working in the United States can become a reality with determination and proper guidance.