Home » United States » United States – Work Permits and Working Legally

United States – Work Permits and Working Legally

Working Legally in the United States

Yes, it is necessary for most expats to obtain a work permit to work legally in the United States. Non-US citizens who are not authorized to work in the US may need a work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to legally work in the country.

Who Must Make the Application for a Work Permit in the United States?

In most cases, the expat must make the application for a work permit. However, there are some exceptions for certain categories of nonimmigrants. For example, individuals in certain nonimmigrant visa categories may be authorized to work for a specific employer without obtaining a separate work permit.

Types of Work Permits for Expats are There in the United States

There are various types of work permits for expats in the United States. Here are some of the most common ones:

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

The EAD is the most common work permit issued by the US government. It is available to people who are already in the US on a valid nonimmigrant visa or who have an application pending for adjustment of status to permanent resident.

H-1B Visa

This type of visa is for professionals who are in a specialty occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher.

L-1 Visa

This type of visa is for intracompany transferees who work for a multinational company that has a US office.

Get Our Best Articles Every Month!

Get our free moving abroad email course AND our top stories in your inbox every month

Unsubscribe any time. We respect your privacy - read our privacy policy.

O Visa

This type of visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.

P Visa

This type of visa is for athletes, entertainers, and artists who are internationally recognized.

R Visa

This type of visa is for religious workers, including ministers, nuns, and monks.

Work Permit Application Process in the United States

The procedure for applying for a work permit in the United States varies depending on the type of work permit being sought. In general, the following steps are required:

  1. File the appropriate application or petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Pay the applicable fees.
  3. Attend biometrics appointment.
  4. Attend an interview (if applicable).
  5. Wait for the work permit to be issued.

The processing time for a work permit can vary depending on a variety of factors such as the type of work permit, the location of the USCIS office, and the individual circumstances of the applicant.


The specific documents required for a work permit application in the United States can vary depending on the type of work permit being sought. In general, the following documents are required:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Proof of identity
  3. Evidence of legal status in the US (if applicable)
  4. Supporting documentation related to the specific type of work permit being sought

What costs are involved in applying for a work permit in the United States?

The cost of applying for a work permit in the United States varies depending on the type of work permit being sought. In general, there are two types of fees that must be paid:

  1. Filing fee for the application
  2. Biometrics fee (if applicable)

The filing fee for an EAD is currently $410, while the filing fee for an H-1B visa is currently $460. Biometrics fees are typically $85.

Reliable Information on Working Legally in the United States

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the primary source of information on work permits and employment-based visas for the U.S. They have detailed information on the different types of work permits and visas available, as well as the eligibility criteria and application procedures.

The Department of Labor (DOL) is another useful resource for information on work permits in the U.S. They provide information on the different categories of visas, including those for temporary and permanent workers, and provide guidance on how to obtain a work permit.


Working in a foreign country can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it is possible to navigate the legal requirements and obtain the necessary work permits. Each country has its own unique regulations, requirements, and procedures for obtaining a work permit, so it is important to research and understand these before embarking on a move to a new country.

Expats should consult with their employer or a qualified immigration lawyer for specific information related to their circumstances, and use the resources available through government agencies for accurate and up-to-date information on the requirements for obtaining a work permit in their chosen country.

Latest Videos

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Important: No API Key Entered.

Many features are not available without adding an API Key. Please go to the YouTube Feed settings page to add an API key after following these instructions.