There’s no gainsaying why the United States is the preferred destination for a lot of people seeking greener pastures.
It is the land of opportunities for those seeking professional growth and career advancement while offering relatively huge monetary returns.
However, you will normally need to obtain a work permit, also known as an employment authorization document (EAD), before you may legitimately work in the United States. We will walk you through the procedure for requesting a work permit in the United States in 2023 in this article.
Understanding the Work Permit
An official document known as a “work permit” is one that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues to allow foreign nationals to work in the country for a set amount of time. It is important to realize that a work permit differs from a visa. Instead, it is a supplementary document that permits employment while you are in the country on a certain type of visa.
Types of Work Permits
Depending on your credentials, talents, and type of employment, there are many sorts of work permits available. Let’s look at a few of the most popular work permits:
The H-1B visa is designed for individuals in specialized occupations. It requires a job offer from a U.S. employer, and the position must typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field of study.
The L-1 visa is for intracompany transferees who are employed by a company abroad and are being transferred to a related U.S. company. It is suitable for managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge.
The O visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in fields such as science, education, business, or athletics. It requires substantial recognition and acclaim in the respective field.
The TN visa is available for citizens of Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It allows individuals to work in specific professional occupations.
The E-2 visa is for individuals who plan to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. It is available for nationals of countries that have treaties with the United States.
The J-1 visa is part of the Exchange Visitor Program and is designed for individuals participating in educational and cultural exchange programs. It allows for temporary employment opportunities.
These are just a few examples of work permit categories available in the United States. The specific requirements and eligibility criteria may vary depending on the visa category you choose.
Eligibility Criteria for a Work Permit
Depending on the sort of visa you are seeking for, there are requirements you must complete in order to be eligible for a work permit. Here are a few typical eligibility criteria:
Job Offer from a U.S. Employer
The majority of the time, a job offer from a U.S. firm who is prepared to sponsor your work permit is required. The company could have to provide evidence that they looked for U.S. employees but were unable to find qualified applicants.
For certain employment-based visas, such as the H-1B and the EB-2 and EB-3 categories, the employer may need to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. This process involves demonstrating that there is no qualified U.S. worker available for the position being offered to the foreign national.
You may qualify for an employment-based visa without a definite work offer if you have exceptional competence in your industry, as demonstrated by ongoing national or international acclaim.
Exchange Visitor Program
You might qualify for a work permit under the J-1 visa category if you’re taking part in an authorized exchange visitor program, such as research, teaching, or cultural exchange activities.
Asylum seekers, refugees, those seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and other specific categories may make them eligible for a work permit. These categories have particular requirements that should be thoroughly examined.
To determine your eligibility based on your particular circumstances, you must speak with an immigration lawyer or use official USCIS materials.
Steps to Apply for a Work Permit
Applying for a work permit involves several steps. While the exact process may vary depending on the visa category, here is a general outline:
Research and Choose the Right Visa Category
Research and understand the various visa categories available to determine which one aligns with your qualifications, skills, and employment goals.
Secure a Job Offer
Obtain a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor your work permit. Ensure that the position meets the requirements of the chosen visa category.
Obtain Employer’s Support and Documentation
Work closely with your employer to gather the necessary documents and information required for the work permit application. This may include employer sponsorship letters, job descriptions, financial records, and more.
Complete Form I-129 or Other Relevant Forms
Depending on the visa category, you may need to complete and submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or other relevant forms provided by USCIS.
Pay the Required Fees
Pay the application fees as specified by USCIS. The fees can vary based on the visa category and other factors.
Submit the Application to USCIS
Submit the completed application, supporting documents, and fees to USCIS either by mail or electronically, depending on the instructions provided by USCIS.
Attend Biometrics Appointment (if required)
If instructed by USCIS, schedule and attend a biometrics appointment to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
Attend Visa Interview (if required)
For certain visa categories, such as the H-1B, you may be required to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
It is important to note that the work permit application process can be complex and time-consuming. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that you complete each step accurately and maximize your chances of success.
Processing Time for Work Permit Applications
The processing time for work permit applications can vary depending on several factors, including the visa category and USCIS workload. On average, it can take several months to receive a decision on your application. USCIS provides estimated processing times on their website, which can serve as a general guideline.
Work Permit Renewal and Extensions
In many cases, work permits are issued for a specific period. If you wish to continue working in the United States beyond the initial validity period, you may need to apply for a renewal or extension of your work permit. The process and requirements for renewal or extension can vary depending on the visa category.
It is important to file for a renewal or extension well in advance of the expiration date to ensure continuous employment authorization.