Finding employment as a noncitizen in the United States remains a complex process. Immigrants in the U.S. who have yet to obtain a green card must still financially support themselves and their families. Thankfully, the form I-765 work permit enables noncitizens to retain employment while they wait for green card approval.
Always contact a reliable immigration lawyer for help navigating the form I-765 process. An immigration lawyer ensures your application form contains no mistakes and accurately represents your situation. Immigration lawyers thoroughly understand the supporting documentation necessary to obtain a work permit.
To work legally in the United States, you must complete the I-765 application form. Unauthorized employment may result in deportation, fines, and difficulties changing your current immigration status. Following the proper steps to legally work in the United States enhances your chances of green card approval and becoming a permanent resident of the United States.
What Is a Work Permit, and Is It the Same Thing as a Green Card?
Work permits in the United States allow noncitizens to obtain employment while their green card application process awaits approval. Form I-765 requires specific documentation regarding the age, sex, home, country, and residency status. An approved form I-765 results in the applicant receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
An Employment Authorization Document enables those waiting for green card approval to work in the United States legally. Employers may prove wary of hiring employees that fail to obtain valid Employment authorization. Unauthorized employment can increase your employer’s liability and result in hefty fines, deportation, and jail time.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services processes all form I-765 applications. The USCIS issues a work permit to applicants who meet the outlined requirements in form I-765. You may also receive a new social security number by completing the form I-765.
However, obtaining a work permit won’t alter your current immigration status. You will need to complete the I-485 form to apply for a green card to change or alter your current residency status. You may apply for work authorization while your green card application awaits approval.
Form I-765 Eligibility
Understanding the specific eligibility requirements for form I-765 helps ensure the success of your application form. Those applying for a work permit in the United States must meet the following criteria:
- Temporary workers: Nonresident, noncitizen individuals who enter the United States to perform specific work according to their work visa.
- Permanent Workers: Immigrant workers who have gained eligibility to live and work in the United States.
- Exchange Visitors and Students: Nonresident students and exchange visitors may remain eligible for a work permit during their limited stay in the U.S.
Other persons eligible for a work permit in the United States include the following:
- Those applying for T-visas and U-visas (victims of human trafficking and criminal activity)
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants
- Those seeking asylum status in the United States
- TPS, temporary protected status, applicants
- Noncitizens awaiting approval of green card application
Contact immigration law professionals for help determining your eligibility for a work permit in the United States. Immigration law firms help clients fill out the work permit application form and achieve work authorization in the U.S. The knowledge and practical training of immigration lawyers prove essential for a successful work permit application.
How to File Form I-765
One of the leading causes of work permit denial remains inaccurate or insufficient details on the form I-765. Double-check that all the information included on your form I-765 is truthful, accurate, and error-free. Even a slight misspelling of a name, country, or mailing address could result in the swift application denial.
Keep detailed records of your travel history to the United States to better answer Part 2 of the form I-765. An I-94 form indicates that you entered the United States legally and contains the specific dates of your arrival and departure. An immigration attorney review of your form I-765 significantly increases the likelihood of obtaining a work permit in the United States.
Who Needs to Pay a Biometrics Fee?
A biometrics fee refers to an additional payment required by specific groups seeking a work permit. The I-765 work permit application specifies the following groups to pay an $85 biometrics fee:
- Applicants for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals
- Individuals seeking changes to their immigration status based on employment
- Children or spouses of unmarried petitioners
- Those applying for long-term residency in the Northern Mariana Islands
Every form I-765 must include a $410 application payment. Accepted forms of payment to file form I-765 include cash, debit or credit card, personal check, and money order.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Work Permit?
The application process to receive a work permit may take up to seven months. Unfortunately, the USCIS must process thousands of green card applications, supporting documents, and deferred enforced departure applicants daily. In addition, the processing time to receive a work permit has increased significantly over the last five years.
Ensure timely review of your work permit application by submitting the form I-765 as soon as possible. Attempting to complete the renewal process for a work permit hastily may result in inaccurate information and insufficient supporting documents. Explore local immigration law firms in your area to find the help you need.
Submitting Required Documents for Work Permit Form I-765
The I-765 form requires specific documentation depending on your previous work permits, lawful permanent residents, approved green card status, and much more. In general, you should always include the following documentation when submitting an I-765 form:
- I-94 forms detailing U.S. arrival and departure dates
- Passport photo page copies
- Two passport-sized photos of the applicant
- Alien Registration Number (found on green card)
- Birth Certificate
- Copies of additional visas of applicant
- Copies of separate work permit
- Previous renewal work permit applications
- Copy of Social Security card (if applicable)
Include every separate work permit, national identity document, and previous green card application into your I-765. If you feel overwhelmed by the documentation requirements for a green card application or work permit renewal application, visit a regional USCIS service center for assistance.
You can get passport-sized photos from your local CVS Pharmacy or UPS Store.
Inaccurately Filed Form I-765
A USCIS service center helps individuals avoid detrimental mistakes on form I-765. An inaccurate I-765 form may result in work permit denial, unchanged immigration statuses, and a longer processing time for government-issued identification. Visit a regional USCIS service center to ensure the proper filing of your application.
Who Is Exempt from Paying the Filing Fee?
Those exempt from paying the filing fee of the form I-765 include the following:
- Afghan national paroled in the United States seeking a work permit
- Victims of Severe Human Trafficking
- U-1 Non-immigrants
- Violence Against Women Act Self Petitioner
You may also draft a letter to the USCIS to request an exemption from paying the filing fee for the I-765 form. Write a letter in English stating the reasons you qualify for an exemption, include supporting documents, sign the letter, and send it to the address listed below:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: DACA Fee Exemption Request
P.O. Box 567
Williston, VT 05495
What Happens if You Work Without an Employment Authorization Document?
Working in the United States without an employment authorization document can have serious consequences. To ensure a safe work environment, employers must make sure all their employees have a social security card, access to a stable living environment, and at least a pending green card application status. If a local USCIS service center learns of an employer hiring undocumented workers, the employer, and undocumented employee may face severe legal action.
If you’re currently awaiting approval of your green card application, always share the receipt notice of your application with your employer. A receipt notice and official acknowledgment letter show USCIS service center officials, border protection agents, and police officers of your ongoing attempt to achieve the legal right to live and work in the United States. You should receive a receipt notice of your I-765 application about 90 days after submitting your application.
USCIS representatives may find out about your unauthorized employment in the U.S. through social media. Follow all the required steps of employment authorization to avoid fines, jail time, and deportation.
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We understand the difficulties of navigating immigration law forms, work authorization, and documentation. Allow our seasoned team of legal professionals to help you pursue your goals. Since 2012, Costas Network Law Center, LLC, has helped hundreds of individuals through the immigration law process.
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