Are You Legally Authorized To Work In The United States?

The United States of America is the dreamland for many. It’s not surprising when approximately 40,000 people migrate to the US every year. Yet, one needs to be sure of whether they are legally authorized to work in the United States? as there are requirements to meet. Let’s check out Jobandedu‘s free guide to enhance your understanding of these requirements to stay and work legally in the US. 

Why The Us Working Requirements Matter

When planning to work in the United States, many carelessly assume that the authority grants them to work in the States once they get a visitor visa. Even more surprising, some don’t know for sure if international students in the US can have work authorization?

In fact, those who are not born in the USA and trying to land a job here need to obtain work authorization. It’s an Employment Authorization Document card (EAD card) issued only to a non-citizen to work in the US legally. 

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), those who will need to go through the EAD application process include:

  • People applying for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • Anyone applying for asylum or withholding of removal, which allows a person to remain in the United States and work here legally.
  • Who stays in the United States as non-immigrant but has not been allowed to work legally, for example, international students with F-1 or M-1 visa.
Statue Of Liberty, New York, Monument, Manhattan

The USA – the land of opportunities. Source: picsource

Besides, one who belongs to the following cases can be eligible to work in the US.

  • You have relevant working immigration status.
  • You have the relevant non-immigration status to work for a particular employer.
  • Your immigration category requires you to request employment authorization.

How To Get Work Authorization In The United States

To obtain the EAD card, you will have to log onto the website of USCIS at After that, you need to search for Employment Authorization Document information. Then, the USCIS will require you to fill in and submit an Application form, known as Form I-765

Along with your Form I-765, you have to pay a filing fee of US$410 and an optional US$85 biometric service fee if requested. You must submit your forms correctly according to the checklist of Required Initial Evidence for Form I-765, which varies from person to person.

From below of cheerful African American female ambassador with folder wearing hijab and id card looking away while standing near building with American flags on blurred background
Being legally authorized to work in the US is a dream for many. – Source: picsource

But what happens when your EAD expires? Do you still have legal work authorization in the US? Of course, you can renew your EAD with the USCIS. Do note that you should send your renewal application to the USCIS office six months before your current EAD expires.

If you lose your EAD card, you would need to apply for a replacement EAD, which would go through the same process as obtaining your original one. Be careful when filling out your name in these documents, as any incorrect information, like a misspelled name, would result in revising the whole paperwork process. 

How To Know Whether I Have Work Authorization

It Takes Non-immigrants Much Time To Get A Job In The Us.

If you are a non-immigrants, you often impose more effort to get a US job. Firstly, you would need to persuade the prospective employer to file a petition with USCIS – on your behalf.

This petition should clarify that you have the perfect skills, education background, and work experience the employer is seeking. When you obtain this employment-based immigrant visa, you have legal work authorization in the States. 

According to the USCIS, a “skilled worker” who are eligible to obtain employment-based immigration is someone:

  • having jobs that require a minimum of 2 years of training or experience
  • meeting the educational, training, or experience requirements of the job
  • whose jobs are not temporary or seasonal
  • performing work for which similarly qualified workers are not available in the US

And he must be able to demonstrate all of the above, along with his labor certification and a permanent full-time job offer by his employer.

Legal Work Authorization For International Students In The Us

Are International Students Legally Authorized To Work In The Us?
International students go to the US to pursue higher education. – Source: timeshighereducation

International students are allowed to work in the States only with permission. To know for sure, students should consult the Designated School Official (DSO), which will confirm each single case with the authorities.

Because international students are “exchange visitors,” this agency will send the documents to the Responsible Officer for exchange visitors. In most cases, the exchange visitor visa program does authorize international students to temporarily work in the US. 

If My Child Was Born In The Us, Can I Get A Work Permit?

Around a decade ago, many non-American parents planned to have their baby born in the US, making the baby earn US citizenship by birth. The parents hoped that once their baby becomes a US citizen, they would have the legal authority to work and live in the States. But is it that feasible?

Sadly, no, the parents cannot work in the States immediately when their child is born in the USA. However, once the child is old enough – and by “old enough”, we mean 21 years of age; the child can petition his parents’ permanent residence and a legal work permit. 

Under section 201(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1151(b) (1982), the government will regard the parents of a US citizen aged at least 21 as “immediate relatives” under the US immigration law. They are eligible for permanent residence (Green Card), which evidently allows them to stay and work legally in the US.

In this process, the US-citizen child files the I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative, and the parents need the I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Both would go directly to the USCIS. By the end of this process, the parents would become US permanent residents.

Will Your Legal Rights Secure Your Future In The Us?

The US is by far the most popular destination for international students across the globe. According to Pew Research Center in Washington DC, the US is also the country with almost one-fifth of the world’s immigrants. 

The US has increasingly approved more EAD. According to the USCIS data, in June 2020, the agency received nearly 2.2 million employment authorization applications in the financial year of 2019.

For the same period, they approved more than 500,000 petitions for non-immigrant workers. The statistics clearly show the upward trend for those who seek approval to reside and work legally in the US. 

The Bottom Line

So, are you legally authorized to work in the United States? Do international students have legal work authoration in the US? Yes, you would be approved to work legally in the United States, providing you receive the Employment Authorization Document card from the USCIS.

And those whose child was born in the US can get a legal work permit when their child reaches 21 years old. All in all, ensure that you know your rights and comply with US law.

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John Hobbs

At Jobandedu, John Hobbs holds the position of senior blogger. Though Hobbs has achieved massive success as a researcher, adviser, and writer, he still had to undergo multiple trials and tribulations before finding his true calling. He considered it his life's work to assist others in discovering and developing their full potential. His broad expertise in diverse fields and specifications allows him to provide insightful, real-world advice. His writings offer in-depth guidance on finding and excelling in a career, using information gleaned from extensive study and his personal experience. Hobbs also has a creative and engaging writing style, which he uses to publish pieces wherein he discusses his interests, views, and studies.