You might be wondering, "How long does a work permit last?" You may have received your card in the mail and are curious as to how long you can use it. You might also be confused by the different cards that are issued. This post will answer many of your questions about work permits, including when they expire and what happens if you lose them.
What are some common expiration periods for U.S. employment authorization cards?
A "work permit" is the commonly used name for an Employment Authorization Document, or EAD, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to certain people who are in the United States and legally permitted to work here. It's a plastic-laminated identity card with the individual's name, photo, and an expiration date reflected on the front.
How long the work permit lasts depends on your current immigration status, or what type of visa you are here on. Most EADs are valid for one year. Obviously, however, no person will be given a work permit that lasts longer than their permitted stay in the United States.
So, for example, someone who arrives in the U.S. with a fiancé visa (K-1) and applies for a work permit will receive one that lasts only until the 90-day termination of that person's K-1 visa. If you are an immigrant here on a fiancé visa and want to work in the U.S., don't worry about your EAD card expiring unless you violate your status by not getting married. Under renewal rules that apply only when applying for green cards after marriage - just file form I-485, petition for adjustment of status along with all supporting evidence and forms as soon as possible following your wedding date. You will then get another long-lasting Employment Authorization card shortly afterward.
- The work permit is a crucial document for many people and one that may even need to be renewed. There are some who can renew their permits if they have had an extension in the length of time or their stay has been extended past what was originally given on their original work permit.
Not everyone who has a right to work in the United States even needs to apply for an EAD. For example, most people admitted on temporary work visas such as H-1B visas need not (and should) go straight to Social Security and get their card because they are given one automatically with proof of employment from employer sponsorship during the inspection at the port of entry or time of application.
Who Can Apply for a Work Permit?
There are many different ways an individual may be eligible for a work permit. the following immigrants can apply for work permits, although this is not an exhaustive list, some of the most commonly used eligibility categories include:
Applicants for adjustment status with a pending I-485
Refugees and people granted asylum
People granted deferred enforced departure (DED) or temporary protected status (TPS)
VAWA self petitioners
J-2 spouses or minor children
M-1 students seeking practical training after completing their studies.
K-1 nonimmigrant fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen or K-4 children.
Holders of L-2, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, or U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5, V-1, V-2, or V-3 visas.
F-1 students (with various limitations)
How to Apply for a Work Permit
The most common method for applying for a work permit is on USCIS form I-765. Most of the form is self-explanatory. You'll fill in your name, contact information, and so forth. You may also be required to attach evidence that you have a filed and pending application with USCIS that will give you a benefit and renders you eligible for employment authorization (e.g. form I-485 or form I-589 and receipts from USCIS for those applications). Do not rely on USCIS to check their own records. They expect you to do the work.
Keeping Track of the Expiration Date
It's important to pay close attention to the expiration date on your work permit. Without a valid, unexpired work permit, you might lose your job or be arrested in an immigration raid! Your employer could also get into trouble with the authorities if it failed to keep track of when your EAD expired and ask for proof that you are eligible for renewal before starting any new projects together.
A good way to avoid these negative consequences is by applying for renewal between three-six months before expiring so there isn't anything left unchecked at first glance. If this has been something confusing about renewing permits then contact us today and we can help answer all those questions