Many who seek to come to the United States, either permanently or temporarily, seek the right to work in order to support themselves. However, depending on the type of visa one holds, he or she may or may not be able to do so. An employment authorization document (EAD) must be obtained.
There is a fair amount of misinformation surrounding employment authorizations, and it is imperative that you, as an arriving immigrant, understand the truth.
Who Needs an EAD?
Holders of immigrant visas generally do not require an EAD in order to work. Lawful permanent residents (or ‘green card’ holders, the most common immigrant visa holders) may work by virtue of their Alien Registration Card. Non-immigrant visa holders do not require EADs to work if they are employed by the program that brought them to the country. For example, an F1 student seeking on-campus employment for less than 20 hours per week does not require an EAD. Refugees and asylees must also have an EAD in order to work, although employment authorization is almost universally granted at the time asylum or refugee status is conferred upon the person.
There are some non-immigrant visa holders who are required to have both an EAD and a Labor Certification, issued by the Department of Labor. Many mistakenly believe that the two are the same; however, they are in fact very different. An EAD grants the right to work, while a Labor Certification merely certifies that there are no more qualified applicants for a specific position, allowing the green card or non-immigrant visa petition to go forward. The EAD is also not employer-specific, while a Labor Certification must be re-applied for if a holder switches employers.
The Application Process
In order to apply for an EAD, the appropriate form, the I-765, must be submitted to the right office, depending on where you are located in the United States. For example, immigrants located in Illinois must file their paperwork at the Phoenix office. By law, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate your case within 90 days, and if they do not, you may apply for a temporary EAD (though getting one is not proof that you will succeed in obtaining a permanent EAD). If you are denied, you do not have a right of appeal, but you may file a motion to reconsider with the same office. The office will not simply make another decision, but will require proof that there was a misapplication of law or policy.
An Illinois Immigration Attorney Can Help
When you are required to work in order to support yourself, but are faced with obstacles in your way, it is only natural to want to remove those obstacles as quickly as possible. An experienced immigration lawyer can help. The skilled DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have several years of experience with employment authorization cases, and we are happy to help you with yours. Please contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. Call 630-932-9100 today.
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