Understanding Immigration Work Permits
Immigration work permits, formally known as Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), are integral for non-citizens seeking employment in the United States. This section provides clarity on what EADs are and their foundation within U.S. law.
Definition and Purpose
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is an official document issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It grants non-citizens permission to work in the United States. The main purpose of an EAD is to prove an individual’s legal right to work. Without it, employers cannot legally hire a non-citizen. This is distinct from a visa, which primarily authorizes entry into the country, whereas an EAD deals directly with employment.
The legal basis for EADs is found in U.S. immigration law. Various non-citizen categories, such as students on an F-1 visa participating in optional practical training (OPT), asylum seekers, and certain spouses of visa holders, may apply for a work permit. The eligibility and conditions are defined by legislation and implemented by USCIS. Non-citizens must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an EAD, with specific eligibility determined by their immigration status.