If you’re like many people, you’re ready to apply for a U.S. green card – and you may be in a situation where you need to work. But can you work in the United States while you’re waiting for a green card? This guide explains.
Is it Legal to Work in the U.S. When You’re Waiting for a Green Card?
It is legal to work in the United States while you’re waiting for a green card. However, you will need to obtain what’s called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is also known as a work permit.
The good news is that it may be pretty easy for you to get an EAD. In most cases, all you need to do is have your immigration attorney submit an application, along with the appropriate fee. Often, people who apply (provided they qualify) receive an EAD within several months.
After you have your EAD, you’re free to work in the United States. Note that there are some restrictions on what type of work you can do – for example, you can’t work for the government. But in general, an EAD allows you to work for any employer in the United States.
What If I Don’t Have an EAD?
If you don’t have an EAD, you’re not legally allowed to work in the United States. Doing so could put your application at risk, and it could cause serious problems with your entire immigration process.
Common Questions About Working During the Green Card Application Process
Check out these common questions about working while waiting for a green card. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, give us a call and schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. Your attorney can help you by giving you the answers you need – and they can help you apply for employment authorization if necessary.
How Long Does it Take to Get an EAD While Waiting for a Green Card (and Is It Worth Applying)?
The answer to this question depends on a few different factors, including processing times. Sometimes people receive EADs within a few months; in other cases, they wait between six and eight months. Depending on how far you are into the green card application process, it may or may not be worth applying. You should talk to your immigration attorney if you’re interested in working while waiting for green card approval; they can give you case-specific legal advice.
What Kind of Job Can You Work While Waiting for Your Green Card?
There are no restrictions on the type of job you can work while waiting for a green card. You’re free to work any legal job in the United States, as long as you have an EAD.
Do You Need a Social Security Number to Work While Waiting for Your Green Card?
You need a social security number to work while waiting for your green card. An EAD does not automatically give you a social security number. However, you can apply for one after you have your EAD. You’ll need to fill out an application and submit it to the Social Security Administration.
It’s important to note that you can only get a social security number if you’re legally allowed to work in the United States. If you don’t have an EAD, you won’t be able to get a social security number.
What Documents Do You Need to Apply for a Work Permit While Waiting for a Green Card?
To apply for a work permit while waiting for a green card, you’ll need to submit an application, along with the appropriate fee, as well as:
- A copy of your Form I-94
- Two passport-style photographs
- A copy of your last EAD, if you’ve ever had one before
- A government-issued identity document
Are There Limits on the Number of Hours You Can Work With an EAD?
No, there are no limits on the number of hours you can work with an EAD. You’re free to work as many or as few hours as you want, as long as you have an EAD.
Do You Need to Show Your EAD to Prospective Employers?
You’ll need to show your EAD to prospective employers. An EAD is proof that you’re allowed to work in the United States. Employers can’t legally hire you without seeing your EAD.
What Happens if You Get Fired or Quit When You Have an EAD?
Nothing will happen to you if you get fired or quit while you have an EAD (other than being out of a job, that is). That’s because an EAD lets you work anywhere you’d like. You won’t lose your EAD if you get fired or quit a job.
Will You Still Need a Work Permit After You Get a Green Card?
After you have a green card, you’ll no longer need an EAD to work in the United States. You’ll be able to work for any employer, without any restrictions.
Can You Apply for a Green Card and a Work Permit at the Same Time?
Yes, you can apply for a green card and a work permit at the same time. In fact, it’s often a good idea to do so; it can help minimize your wait time.
Related: What is consular processing?
What Happens if You Work in the U.S. Without Employment Authorization?
Working in the United States without employment authorization is a serious offense. If you’re caught working without an EAD, you could be deported and your green card application could be denied. If you’re deported, there are serious consequences; in fact, you may not be allowed to return to the United States.
Applying for a Green Card
Applying for a green card can be a long and complicated process, but it’s important to remember that you can still work in the United States while you’re waiting for your application to go through.
You may be eligible for a green card if:
- You’re the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen
- You have a family member who is a green card holder
- You’re a refugee or asylee
- You’re a victim of human trafficking or domestic violence
- You have a special immigrant status
- You’re a religious worker
- You’re an investor
- You have a job offer from a U.S. employer
- You’re a student
- You’re a member of the military
- You’re a national of a country with a special relationship with the United States
Many people choose to work with a Dallas or Houston immigration attorney to apply for a green card. That’s because the process can be long and complex. Your attorney can help you through the entire application process, including applying for an Employment Authorization Document.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Work Authorization and Green Cards?
If you’re waiting for a green card, you may want to talk to an experienced immigration attorney about your work authorization options. An attorney can help you through the entire green card application process. Your lawyer can also help you with any other immigration-related issues you may have.
Call us today to schedule your consultation with a caring, experienced immigration attorney who can give you the help you need.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dallas Contact Info:
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Houston Contact Info: Address: 6220 Westpark Dr, Suite 110, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (832) 742-0066