work in the United States

Work in the United States

Work in the United States with a Non-Immigrant Visa

work in the United States
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Lawful permanent residents (immigrants with green cards) and U.S. citizens can accept employment freely within the United States without restrictions. On the other hand, non-immigrants, those here generally to visit, do business or study on a temporary basis, cannot work without special permission. Other categories such as persons in deferred action, temporary protected status, as well as refugees and asylees must also obtain authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the form of a work permit before accepting employment. The following covers some of the more popular categories seeking employment authorization.

Obtaining Employment Authorization as an International Student

Most international students in the U.S. hold an F-1 visa. The F-1 visa (Academic Student) allows the student to enter the U.S. as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. The student must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and the school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students. F-1 students are allowed to work in the U.S., but only under certain conditions and in accordance with specific rules and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Read more

Obtaining Employment Authorization with DACA Status

Deferred action refers to the case-by-case decision to defer removal action of an individual. It is a temporary (renewable) status that does not provide for a path to citizenship. A special category of deferred action was created by President Obama for childhood arrivals. These undocumented young people were brought to the United States by their parents as children and have pursued education or military service here. The program is formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and one of the benefits granted to DACA recipients includes a work permit. Read more

Obtaining Employment with Temporary Protected Status

When conditions in a foreign country make it dangerous for that country’s nationals to return home, the U.S. may designate a county for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Examples include wars and natural disasters. Countries currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria. During the designated temporary period, TPS beneficiaries are provided a work permit. Read more

Obtaining Employment Authorization as an Adjustment of Status Applicant

Adjustment of Status (AOS) applicants are individuals that have already filed Form I-485 to adjust status to become a permanent resident and receive a green card. A green card holder can seek employment without any other special permission. However, the adjustment of status process can be lengthy. Until the green card is issued, an AOS candidate may apply for employment authorization and to receive a work permit. Read more

This is a short list of common eligibility categories for employment authorization. In fact, there are many eligibility categories to receive a work permit that are not covered in this article. For a complete list of eligibility categories as listed on the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), see the list below:

The complete list of eligibility categories can be viewed below:


Continue to the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization