Work Permits: What Are They & How Do I Get One? - STERN Law

Work Permits: What Are They & How Do I Get One?

What most undocumented non-US citizens want is to legally work.  To legally work, you must have a work permit. This is as noble as it is understandable because people have an instinct to provide for their families, and there are long-term benefits associated with being able to work. Although we will focus on work permits, we are talking about ensuring you have the means to care for the people you love.

Many people need clarification about the process due to the complexity of information available. Ultimately, it is vital to understand the distinction between being authorized to work and legal status. This is why we wanted to elaborate on the significance of work permits, their connection to immigration status, and why seeking professional legal guidance is essential. 


Understanding the Work Permit

Having a work permit is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). They permit you to be legally employed. Work permits are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and they signify that someone is authorized to work in the US. 

However, they do not give you legal status, and EADs are not green cards or confirmation of any other legal immigration status. Before we go on, we also want to say that having a TAX ID number does not automatically mean you can work legally. These are separate issues, and for more information, read the blog we published about taxes and undocumented workers. 


Work Permits & Legal Status

To clarify some common misconceptions, it is essential to emphasize that a work permit is always tied to a pending application for legal status. Though there may be instances where individuals can be given a work permit before they have been granted legal status, they are still in the process of obtaining it. Acquiring a work permit requires a valid legal basis to pursue legal status. Please, don’t be quick to dismiss your ability to work because you assume you don’t have a valid reason to become a legal permanent resident. This is something an attorney can assist you with. 


The Role of Legal Counsel 

Because of how complicated immigration law can be and how significant gaining legal status is, seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is crucial for a non-US citizen who wants a work permit. The purpose is so you can clearly understand the available pathways to legal status and the specific requirements associated with each. Allow an attorney to examine your unique situation and assess your eligibility for various immigration programs, such as family-based visas, employment-based visas, or even humanitarian relief options. 

At STERN Law, we want you to know that you may have more options than you realize. Although work permits tied to an application for legal status may seem like another obstacle, view it from the perspective of getting two things you and your family want: the ability to work and live in the US. Not only will an immigration attorney explain what your options are, but they will go over the necessary steps to initiate the application process and help you compile the required documents. 


Partner with STERN Law, LLC

Getting an EAD is vital for non-US citizens who wish to work and provide for their families. However, it is essential to recognize that a work permit alone does not grant legal status. To achieve both, consult an experienced immigration attorney who will fight vigorously to keep you in the US. The attorneys at STERN Law will support and advise you as we navigate the immigration process together. Let’s identify the right pathway for you and help you achieve your goal of being lawfully employed. For a brighter future for you and your family, contact STERN Law, LLC, to schedule a consultation. 


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