Work Permit And Work Visas

If you are a business professional, entrepreneur, or investor seeking a visa, or you represent a U.S. corporation, university, or other organization that employs foreign nationals, you may be able to work in the U.S. By gaining a work permit, or an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), you become eligible to work in the U.S. for a certain period of time, so long as you fall within a certain category of persons.

An employment authorization document or EAD card, known popularly as a “work permit”, is a document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that provides temporary employment authorization to noncitizens in the United States.


The Employment Authorization Document is proof to your employer that you are legally allowed to work in the United States. Applicants for an EAD can request:

  • Permission to accept employment
  • Replacement (of a lost EAD)
  • Renewal of permission to accept employment

Foreign workers who may be authorized to work in the US include:

  • Temporary (non-immigrant) workers are individuals who enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants enter the United States for a temporary period of time and are restricted to the activity or reason for which their non-immigrant visa was issued.
  • Permanent (immigrant) workers are individuals who are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.
  • Students and exchange visitors. Students must obtain permission to work in the United States from an authorized official at their school.

The US is one of the world’s most popular immigration destinations. Under its immigration law, there are 140,000 visas per year for permanent employment-based immigration. Employment-based immigrant visas are based upon categories such as:

  • Extraordinary ability of aliens;
  • Outstanding researchers and professionals;
  • Professional talent;
  • Multinational executives and managers;
  • Investors and employment creation.

Popular work related visa options include the E-1E-2L-1H-1B and B-1 non-immigrant visa categories.

H-1B: Person in specialty occupation. To obtain an H-1B, you must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer.

E-1 treaty trader visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals of a treaty nation to enter into the U.S. and carry out substantial trade.

E-2 investor visa allows an individual to enter and work inside of the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, while inside the United States.

L-1 is for employees who work for a foreign company that is an affiliate of a U.S. company.

B-1 is eligible if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States.

If you have questions about employment visas, or would like assistance with preparation and filing of an employment-based permanent residence petition, talk to an experienced immigration attorney. A qualified immigration lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court.

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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