Can I Work in the U.S. While Waiting for My Green Card?

Oct 4, 2023 | Green Card

can i work while waiting for Green Card

Moving to the United States in pursuit of a better life often involves navigating complex immigration processes. For many, the question “Can I work while waiting for a Green Card?” becomes a pivotal concern. Obtaining a Green Card is a significant step toward securing one’s future in this land of opportunity. However, the waiting period for Green Card approval can sometimes stretch into months or even years. During this time, individuals often wonder if they are allowed to work and contribute to society. 

In this article, we’ll explore the topic of working in the U.S. while waiting for a Green Card, shedding light on the processes, rights, and responsibilities involved.

Can I Work in the U.S. While Awaiting My Green Card?

The good news is that working in the United States is indeed possible while your Green Card application is being processed. To achieve this, you need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit. This essential document gives you the legal right to work in the U.S. while you await your Green Card approval. While the process might sound complex, it’s relatively straightforward.

Typically, acquiring an EAD involves submitting an application, along with the required fee, through your immigration attorney. Most applicants who meet the eligibility criteria receive their EAD within a few months. Once you have your EAD in hand, you are free to engage in employment across various sectors, except for government roles. The EAD offers you the flexibility to work for any employer in the United States.

However, it’s essential to note that working without an EAD can jeopardize your entire immigration process. Therefore, following the legal pathway and obtaining the necessary authorization before engaging in any work activities is imperative.

5 Common FAQs About Working During the Green Card Application Process

  1. What is the duration for receiving an EAD during Green Card processing?

The timeline for receiving your EAD depends on several factors, primarily processing times. While some individuals obtain their EADs within a few months, others might wait for up to six to eight months. To determine whether applying for an EAD is a viable option based on your individual circumstances, it’s recommended to consult your immigration attorney. They can provide you with tailored legal advice, taking into account your current stage in the Green Card application process.

  1. What types of employment are possible while waiting for my Green Card?

The beauty of having an EAD is its flexibility in choosing employment opportunities. There are no limitations on the type of job you can undertake during the Green Card waiting period, as long as the work is legal. With an EAD, you have the freedom to work any legal job in the United States, without any constraints on the number of hours you can commit to. If you don’t have an EAD, you’re not legally allowed to work in the United States. Doing so could put your application at risk and cause serious problems with your entire immigration process.

In the absence of an EAD, working within the United States is not permitted by law. Engaging in such activity could jeopardize your application and potentially lead to significant complications throughout your immigration journey.

  1. Is a Social Security Number required for employment during Green Card processing?

Yes, a social security number is a requirement for working while waiting for your Green Card. However, it’s important to understand that having an EAD doesn’t automatically grant you a social security number. You will need to apply for one separately after receiving your EAD. The application process involves submitting relevant documents to the Social Security Administration. It’s worth noting that a social security number can only be obtained if you are legally authorized to work in the United States. Without an EAD, you won’t be eligible to receive a social security number.

  1. What documents do I need to apply for a work permit while waiting for a Green Card?

When applying for a work permit (EAD) during the Green Card waiting period, you need to submit an application, the appropriate fee, and the following documents:

  • A copy of your Form I-94
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of your last EAD, if applicable
  • A government-issued identity document
  1. Is it possible to simultaneously apply for a Green Card and a work permit?

Absolutely, you have the option to concurrently submit applications for both a Green Card and a work permit. This approach is not only feasible but can also be strategically advantageous. By simultaneously pursuing both avenues, you can reduce the overall waiting period and optimize their immigration journey.

Applying for a Green Card signifies the desire to attain permanent residency within the United States, while a work permit, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), permits non-citizens to work in the country legally. The ability to pursue both authorizations concurrently stems from the fact that the processing timelines for these documents often vary, with the EAD frequently being issued before the Green Card is approved.

Importance of Seeking Legal Counsel for Work Authorization and Green Cards

Consulting an experienced immigration attorney can provide you with valuable insights and guidance as you navigate the intricate immigration process. An immigration attorney possesses the expertise to not only assist you in obtaining your EAD and offer comprehensive support throughout your Green Card application journey.At the Law Office of 360 Immigration Law Group, we understand the significance of this journey, as we consider your aspirations as our own. Our team is dedicated to providing meticulous legal guidance to facilitate your pursuit of the American Dream. We offer consultations in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, conducted via phone, Zoom, or WhatsApp, making our services accessible regardless of your location within the United States or beyond. Contact us today at 954.667.3660 for a free consultation and embark on your path toward a brighter future.