Green Card work permit | If you want to work while your family-based Green Card application is pending, you will need a work permit first. However, you can’t do this if you are living abroad.
If you already have a valid work visa, such as an H-1B or L-1 visa, you can continue working in the United States while you wait for your green card. Otherwise, you must obtain a work permit or, as it’s officially called, an “Employment Authorization Document” (EAD) before you can start working in the United States. If you want to know if you’re eligible for a work permit, check our other YouTube video on this, you can click the card on the top or check our channel. Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we receive.
If you have not applied for a green card yet and would like to work in the U.S. during the processing time, you must submit Form I-765. This form is the Application for Employment Authorization, and you can file for it with your Green Card Application. When your application gets approved, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that you can use to work in the U.S. while awaiting the approval of your green card. EAD is valid for both full and part-time work.
I applied for my Green Card but forgot to submit Form I-765
If you did not submit Form I-765 with your initial Form I-485 application and want to do so, it’s ok. You can still submit your EAD application. However, it will still be processed based on the date it was received by USCIS (which can take longer than the green card). If you submit the application afterward, you will need to attach a copy of the I-797 receipt notice from the initial Form I-485 to the top of the application to have the fee waived.
I’m the relative of a U.S. citizen or green card holder and living in the United States. Can I work while I’m waiting for my green card?
Typically, U.S. Citizens relatives file the work permit application as part of the initial green card application package. However, relatives of green card holders must wait until they are eligible to file for their green card. They are not able to request a work permit before this happens.
Even if your relative is a U.S. Citizen, they cannot file on your behalf. The process needs to be done by the individual who needs the permit.
How long does it take to receive my work permit?
After USCIS receives your application, it can take up to 7 months for them to come to a decision. Each case is different, and the timeframe might vary. There is a growing backlog that has caused additional delays within the process.
Every month USCIS updates the backlog. You can check the most current processing times on their website.
What kind of jobs can I work and for how many hours?
Well, with a work permit that’s tied to a family-based green card, there are no restrictions on either the type of employment that’s allowed or the number of hours you can work. You can choose to work part-time or full-time, whatever works best for you.
When can I not apply for a work permit?
There are different ways to apply for a green card. If you are going through the consular process outside the United States, you cannot apply for work authorization. Also, if you are a permanent resident, you don’t need to apply for a work permit; you will be authorized to work in the United States even before your physical green card arrives.
What if my work permit expires?
When your Employment Authorization Document is about to expire or has expired, you should file for a renewal. In this case, you will have to submit a new I-765 form and the filing fee. You can also request a fee waiver, and if approved, you won’t have to pay the filing fee.
Generally, you should not file for a renewal work permit more than 180 days before it expires.
What happens to my work permit when I have my Green Card?
When you get your Green Card approved by USCIS, you will no longer need a separate work permit. You will be authorized to work in the United States even before your physical green card arrives.
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