Work Permits

Work permits in the United States are based on an individual’s immigration status. There are many different types of status, such as B2 tourists, F1 students , parolees, and many more. If they permit work at all, the different immigration statuses may have certain restrictions, or have work permits that are issued for different periods of time, and have different requirements for applying. Some statuses don’t require a work permit to be able to work, but most do. 

Applying for a work permit generally requires either an existing immigration status or an application for status at the same time. It's a good idea to have a consultation if there is any question about eligibility to work or the work permit process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Work Permits

Can I file a form I-765 on its own to get a work permit?

Not usually. While the form I-765 is the right one to file to request a work permit, the applicant has to be eligible for work authorization, they can’t simply file the form I-765. It’s important to determine first that the person is eligible to work, then submit the I-765 for the work permit.

Can I get a work permit on a tourist, or B1/B2 visa?

No, travelers on tourist visas are not authorized to work and cannot get a work permit, unless they are in the process of getting some other benefit, like a green card, which allows them to.

How early can I apply to renew my work permit?

The answer to this question depends to some extent on the type of work permit, noted in the category code. In general, work permits are issued more slowly than before. Many applications take 4-5 months to process. But others can take longer, or frequently receive RFE’s which delay the process.

Does my work permit get automatically extended when I file to renew it?

Not always. Certain categories of green cards are automatically extended if the renewal is received before the card expires. But even these automatic extensions are not perfect – many people don’t understand that they are a legal extension when they see an expired card, and it’s generally better to have a card with a valid date. Check out the USCIS website's page for more information.

Can I get a fee waiver for a work permit?

Yes, there is a fee waiver available for work permits for those who qualify. The form I-912 is used to request a fee waiver. It can be used for multiple applicants, such as a family filing together.

Recent News About Work Permits

H-4 work permits and EADs for H-1B dependents

Proposed Regulation to Restrict Work Permits for Individuals with Final Orders of Removal

What is the filing fee for an I-765 work permit application based on a pending asylum case?

Work Permits for Approved Withholding of Removal Cases