If an individual is not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States they will need a permit to work, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to prove eligibility to work in the US. That's because employees are required to prove that they are authorized to work in the US and employers are required to verify the identity and eligibility to work for all new employees.
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as an EAD card, work permit, or working permit, is a document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that proves that the holder is authorized to work in the United States. An EAD is a plastic card that is usually valid for one year and is renewable.
Applicants for an EAD can request:
- Permission to accept employment
- Replacement (of a lost EAD)
- Renewal of permission to accept employment
Eligibility for an EAD
US citizens and permanent residents do not need an Employment Authorization Document or any other working permit to work in the United States, other than their Green Card if they are a permanent resident. All employees, however, including US citizens and permanents do need to prove eligibility to work in the US.
The following categories of foreign workers are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document: asylees and asylum seekers, refugees, students seeking particular types of employment, foreign nationals in the United States pursuing the final stage of permanent residence, nationals of certain countries given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in their home countries, fiances and spouses of U.S. citizens, dependents of foreign government officials, J-2 spouses or minor children of exchange visitors, and other workers depending on circumstances.
How to Apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Information on eligibility and forms to apply for an EAD are available on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
There are also instructions available on where to mail the form applying for an EAD.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Forms
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