logo AyiConnect Staff, Nov 01, 2023
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What does it mean by legally authorized to work

Legally Authorized to Work in the US: Everything You Need to Know

The United States is a country with a lot of opportunities, that’s why it’s very common to find foreign nationals who come here to get a job. However, you can only get a job if you are legally authorized to work in the US.

Have you thought about what this means? And who is allowed to work in the US? These are good questions you need to consider while you are hiring a domestic helper like a nanny, or a senior caregiver or if you are looking for a job.

What Does It Mean To Be "Legally Authorized To Work" In The US?

Being work-authorized means that you have the legal right to work in the US. If you wish to work in the United States and you're a foreign-born national, you will need to obtain work authorization. This is a document that allows a non-citizen or one who is not a permanent resident to legally obtain a job in the States. This work authorization is also known as EAD. All non-citizens are required to apply for an EAD first. The standard processing time for an EAD is 2-5 months. An EAD is valid for one or two years depending on your visa category. If your work permit expires soon or has expired, you can apply for a renewal. 

Immigrants who apply for a work permit in conjunction with applying for a Green Card typically fall for the longest part of that time. Once you receive your work permit from USCIS, it could take anywhere from 5 to 43 months to receive your Green Card depending on your eligibility category and which USCIS service center or office handles your petition. Once you have your Green Card you won’t need the EAD anymore and will have the right to work legally in the US.

Applying for an EAD is not difficult. You must submit Form I-765, which is the Application for the EAD. To get the details about the process and possible sponsorship type depending on your visa category, we recommend checking the USCIS official website.

The EAD is suitable for:

  • Foreign nationals who have filed an application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (Green Card)
  • Spouse of E and L visa holders
  • Spouse and children of J visa holders
  • F1 students seeking optional practical training in an occupation directly related to their area of studies
  • M1 student seeking employment for practical training following completion of studies
  • F1 students offered off-campus employment under the sponsorship of a qualifying international organization
  • F1, M1, and J1 students seeking off-campus employment because of severe economic hardship
  • Spouse and children of foreign government diplomats, officials, and NATO personnel
  • K1 fiances or fiancees of US citizens, or K2 dependants
  • Personal or domestic servants of employers who enter the US as nonimmigrants under a B, E, F, H, I, J, or L visa
  • B1 nonimmigrant domestic servants of US citizens
  • B1 nonimmigrant employees of foreign airlines
  • Foreign nationals granted status under the Family Unity Program
  • Foreign nationals who have been granted asylum in the US
  • Foreign nationals who have filed a complete application for asylum or withholding of deportation or removal
  • Foreign nationals in refugee status
  • Foreign nationals under temporary protected status
  • Citizens of Micronesia or the Marshall Islands or Palau admitted to the U.S. as a citizen of Micronesia or of the Marshall Islands
  • Foreign nationals who have applied for suspension of deportation
  • Foreign nationals who were paroled into the U.S. for emergent reasons or reasons strictly in the public interest
  • Deportable foreign nationals, granted voluntary departure, with evidence establishing economic necessity to work
  • Foreign nationals on V nonimmigrant status
  • Foreign nationals admitted as a parent (N8) or dependent child (N9) of an alien granted permanent residence
  • Foreign nationals on T2, T3, T4 nonimmigrant status

If you want to work legally in the US, you need to be a citizen, a permanent resident, or have an EAD. For the EAD, make sure you have the right documentation, complete Form I-765 correctly, and submit it. And make sure you have the funds for the filing fee ($410).







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