Do you need employment authorization?

What is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a document that authorizes an eligible alien to work in the U.S. for a temporary period of time, usually one year. It is also sometimes known as a work permit. The EAD, or work permit, is in the form of a laminated card with some basic information about the alien: the alien’s name and photo, birth date, sex, immigrant category, country of birth, alien registration number, card number, restrictive terms and conditions, and the card’s expiration date. With an EAD, an alien may legally work in the United States for any employer until the expiration date is reached.

An alien may be authorized to work for a specific employer even if he/she does not have an EAD. For example, an alien with a valid employment status visa, such as an H-1B, L-1, L-2, or O-1, is able to work for a specific employer. There is no EAD card for such work authorization.

Do I qualify for an EAD?

The general categories of foreigners that may apply for an EAD include (but are not limited to):

  1. F-1 student seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) in an occupation directly related to his/her studies. After having been enrolled full-time in an approved school for at least nine months, alien students are eligible to apply for an EAD.

  2. F-1 students offered off-campus employment under the sponsorship of a qualifying international organization.

  3. F-1 student seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship. Alien applicants must submit any evidence, such as affidavits, which detail the unforeseen economic circumstances that caused the request, as well as evidence that the applicants have tried to find off-campus employment with an employer who has filed a labor and wage attestation. For more information about F-1 issues, please click here.

  4. J-2 spouse or minor child of an exchange visitor. Applicants must submit a written statement, with supporting evidence, showing that the employment is not necessary to support the J-1, but is for another purpose. For more information about J-1 issues, please click here.

  5. Adjustment Applicants. After or at the time an alien files for adjustment of status (I-485), the alien applicants may file an EAD application.
    For more information about Adjustment of Status, please click here.

  6. M-1 students seeking practical training after completing their studies.

  7. K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé/Fiancée of a US Citizen or a K-2 Dependent. Applicants can file an EAD application within 90 days from the date of entry. For more information about K visa issues, please click here.

  8. Family Unity Program beneficiaries. If aliens have been granted status under this program, they may file an EAD application with a copy of the approval letter.

  9. L-2 visa holders

  10. Asylees (Aliens who have been granted asylum)

  11. Asylum applicants (with a pending asylum application) who filed for asylum on or after January 4, 1995. If the applicant filed a Request for Asylum and for Withholding of Deportation on or after January 4, 1995, he/she must wait at least 150 days before he/she is eligible to apply for an EAD. For more information about Asylum, please click here.

  12. Refugees

  13. Those Paroled as a Refugee

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