A worker’s permit, or work permit, is a legal document verifying that a person is legally allowed to work in the United States. Under state and federal laws, most adult citizens are not required to obtain a work permit in order to begin working. However, under federal immigration laws, some alien workers who travel to the U.S. under an employment visa may be required to obtain a workers permit.

How Is a Worker’s Permit Obtained?

For non-citizen workers, a workers permit is usually obtained through the USCIS office through an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This is usually begun by filing Form I-765. EAD’s are generally temporary and only valid for up to 1 year at a time. In some cases, the EAD filing is part of the overall employment visa application process.

Three different categories of persons may be eligible for workers permits. These include: 

  • Persons who have authorization to generally work in the U.S. as a result of their non-immigrant status (Category 1)
  • Persons who are authorized to work for a specific U.S. employer as a result of their nonimmigrant status (Category 2)
  • Persons in a specific category which requires filing of an EAD (Category 3)

The application for employment authorization may entail slightly different details for each category. You may need to consult with a legal expert for exact requirements for your particular situation.

Also, employers who petition or sponsor a worker from another country may be required to fulfill Alien Labor Certification requirements with the Department of Labor. The employer must prove that there are not enough American workers to fill their employment need, and that the hiring of foreign nationals would not adversely affect American workers’ wages, working conditions, and rights.

What Are Some Legal Violations Associated with Worker’s Permits?

Worker’s permits can help a person obtain work legally in the United States. However, they can be associated with various legal violations. Some issues to watch for may include:

  • Attempting to work without securing an EAD or permit when required to do so
  • Working with an expired work permit
  • Failure of an employer to obtain proper alien labor certification
  • Fraud on a workers permit application or other types of employment fraud

Work permit violations can lead to various penalties, including loss of employment, removal from the U.S., or other consequences.

Should I Hire an Attorney for Help with a Worker’s Permit?

Obtaining work permits and employment authorization can often be a complicated matter. The laws regarding immigrant employment may also be subject to changes and quotas each year. You may need to hire an immigration attorney in your area if you have any questions or if you need assistance with a workers permit. Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance to help ensure that you are following all the rules and requirements associated with work authorization.