what is a work permit
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A work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is a legal document that allows non-citizens to work legally in the United States. It demonstrates that the holder has permission from the government to be employed in the country.

The EAD is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It typically has an expiration date, after which it must be renewed. The card contains the holder’s photograph, date of birth, authorization expiration date, and employment authorization category.

Who Needs a Work Permit?

Certain non-citizen immigrants require an EAD to work legally in the U.S. This includes:

– Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
– Asylees
– Refugees
– Individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
– Certain spouses of employees holding H-1B and L-1 visas
– Individuals with pending applications for adjustment of status

How to Apply for an EAD

To obtain an initial EAD, you must submit Form I-765 to USCIS along with supporting documents and the filing fee. The fee is currently $410.

If you are renewing an expiring EAD, you can file your renewal application up to 180 days before the expiration date. There is no grace period to continue working after your EAD expires.

Processing times for EAD applications vary but can range from 2-12 months. You can check current processing times on the USCIS website. Expedited processing may be available in certain circumstances.

Using Your EAD for Employment

Once approved, you can present your valid EAD document to your employer as proof of your authorization to work in the United States. You cannot legally begin working until you have the card in hand.

Employers are required to examine the EAD and verify its authenticity. They must also keep a record of the EAD in their files. As an EAD holder, you have the right to work for any employer in the U.S., change jobs freely, and work in any occupation.

Your EAD is only valid until the expiration date printed on the card. Once it expires, it is illegal for you to continue working until you have renewed it.

EAD Benefits and Travel

Besides granting you employment authorization, the EAD may provide other benefits depending on your immigration status. For example, an EAD issued to a spouse of certain visa holders makes them eligible for a Social Security number and driver’s license.

If you wish to travel abroad while your EAD renewal is pending, you must obtain advance parole to be able to return to the U.S. Advance parole allows you to leave and re-enter the country.


The work permit or Employment Authorization Document is critical for many categories of non-citizens to legally work in America. Understanding the EAD application process, usage, and renewal requirements allows immigrants to remain compliant with U.S. employment laws. Consulting an immigration attorney can also help navigate any issues or questions.


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