What Counts as Proof of Eligibility to Work in the US?


Each year millions of individuals and families head towards the United States in hopes of finding meaningful employment as well as opportunities to better themselves as well as their families. Often, the process of legally immigrating to the United States is costly and depending on the current citizenship status of yourself or family members it can take anywhere from 5 months to several years to complete.

There are varying reasons as to why, but currently there are many non-citizens who are living in the United States as they seek to obtain a visa, green card or citizenship. Even though all of these individuals may not be living here legally, they are still allowed to apply to legally work to support themselves and even their families while still living in the United States.

This means that even if you are not a United States citizen, you may be eligible to get a job to provide for yourself and your family. But, it is best that those who are currently living in the United States without the proper visas or citizenship begin the process of becoming either a citizen or lawful permanent resident as soon as you can to prevent any legal issues.

What Does it Take to Work in the United States?

Currently you do not need to be a United States citizen to work here. This means that whether you are a citizen, non-citizen or legal permanent resident, so long as you fill out the necessary documentation you will be allowed to work in the United States.

If you are a non-citizen and want to work in the United States, you will need to have one of the following three documents:

Each of the three documents listed above has a different application process as well as differing requirements which means that you will need to determine which documentation will be best for your situation. If you are unsure which document you need to obtain or want to ensure that you do not choose the wrong one and pay more than you need, an experienced immigration attorney can assist you in this process.

Employment Authorization Document

Under current laws, all employers are required to check that each of their employees, regardless of their citizenship status or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are looking to prove to your employer that you are legally allowed to work, obtaining an employment authorization document (work permit) will serve as your proof.

An employment authorization document, often called a work permit, can be used by non-citizens who are currently living in the United States and are looking to work. This permit which is in the form of a card, has the picture, name and expiration date which can be presented to an employer when needing to prove work eligibility.

To get an employment authorization document the process is fairly simple, you will need to submit Form I-765 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay a $400 application fee and $95 biometrics services fee.

Once you have obtained an employment authorization document it is valid for one year from the date it is issued and then it will need to be renewed each year after that so long as your citizenship status has not changed.

Employers and Visa Sponsorship

A successfully run business starts with a competent employer, but it will soon fall apart if it does not have the skilled employees to carry out the tasks that help a business run. Therefore employers try to hire the most skilled and experienced workers who they believe will add to the business and help it to run more time efficiently and cost effectively.

If an employer decides that the best candidate for a job in their company is a non-immigrant who currently lives outside of the United States, they will need to obtain an H1-b visa for them. The H1-b visa allows for skilled workers to come to the United States without obtaining a green card or citizenship and work on a temporary basis for a business.

If a business ultimately decides that their job opening should be filled by someone from outside the United States, then the business is responsible for sponsoring and obtaining the H1-B visa for the future employee.

America is a melting pot of cultures and people, made of those who have left their homelands in search of better employment and opportunities for themselves and their families.

Whether you are trying to obtain work as a non-citizen or are looking to change your citizenship status by obtaining a green card or visa, the services provided by Jackson White law firm are here to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Working in the US

Q: How do I get authorization to work in the U.S.?

For a non-citizen to work in the U.S. they will need to provide their employer with proof that they are legally allowed to work here. A green card, employment authorization document or an employment related visa will serve as the necessary proof for a non-citizen.

Q: Are you eligible to work in the U.S. without visa sponsorship?

If you are currently living outside of the United States you will either need a visa sponsorship or a green card in order to move to and work in the United States. If you are already living in the U.S. and are in the process of becoming a legal permanent resident, you may obtain a work permit.

Q: Can an employer refuse to sponsor an H1B visa?

Employers are required to sponsor the H1-B visa if they decide to obtain one for an employee.

Q: Can you move to the US without a job?

To legally immigrate to the United States, you will need to have a job lined up to satisfy the conditions of your visa or green card.


Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

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