Working in the United States
Every year, the United States grants thousands of green cards and work visas for multiple occupations or employment categories, including those who are artists, researchers, cultural exchange participants, IT specialists, religious workers, investors, scientists, athletes, doctors, nurses, and agricultural laborers. In other words, a broad spectrum of people with various skills and levels of expertise.
All foreign workers seeking work visas must obtain permission to work legally in the United States. Each employment category for admission has different requirements, conditions, and authorized periods of stay.
Applicants must adhere to the terms of their U.S. visa application or petition for admission and visa. Any violation can result in removal or denial of reentry into the United States.
Categories of Visa Workers
Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Worker
Nonimmigrants enter the United States for a temporary period of time. Once admitted to the United States, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which their nonimmigrant work visa was issued.
Permanent (Immigrant) Worker
A permanent worker is an individual who is authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.
Students and Exchange Visitors
Under certain circumstances, students and exchange visitors may be allowed to work in the United States. They first must obtain permission from an authorized official at their school. The authorized official is known as a Designated School Official (DSO) for students and the Responsible Officer (RO) for exchange visitors.
Employers & Employees
Any individual whom an employer plans to employ in the United States must be verified by the employer. Individuals, such as those who have been admitted as permanent residents, granted asylum or refugee status, or admitted in work-related nonimmigrant classifications, may have employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status. Other aliens may need to apply individually for employment authorization.
Temporary Visitors for Business
When visiting the United States for business, an individual will need to obtain a visa as a temporary visitor for business (B-1 visa), unless qualifications for immigration admission are met under the Visa Waiver Program.
Employment Authorization Document
An EAD is a document of proof that an individual seeking work in the United States must present to an employer, stating that the person is allowed to work in the United States. In most cases, EADs are granted for a one-year period.
EADs are issued for several reasons:
- As proof that you are allowed to work in the United States for a specific time period or while you have a specific immigration status.
- To renew an EAD that has expired.
- To replace an EAD.
If an individual is still eligible for work authorization, but the EAD has expired, the individual may file for a renewal EAD by submitting a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. A person may not file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before the original EAD expires.
If an application for a replacement card is received, but the applicant no longer has any basis for applying for employment authorization, the card submitted with the application will not be returned. The applicant will be advised that they do not have a current basis for applying for employment authorization.