Employment authorization

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
The Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS (I-N-S), requires all employers to ensure that their employees are authorized to work in the United States, regardless of citizenship or national origin. In order to do so, all new employees must present employment authorization documents to the employer proving their eligibility to work in the United States. Employment authorization documents may be indefinite or temporary in duration. U.S. citizens and permanent residents hold general, permanent employment authorization in the United States and may show an original U.S. birth certificate, Social Security card, U.S. passport, citizenship papers, alien registration card, or other similar acceptable documents to the employer. If you’re not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, or EAD (E-A-D), to prove that you may work in the United States. An EAD grants temporary employment authorization and may be general or job-specific in scope. A general employment authorization means that you may work for any U.S. employer. A job-specific employment authorization means that you may only work in one position for one employer. Which type of employment authorization you receive and the amount of time you’re granted to work in the United States depends on your non-immigrant status and the regulations that govern your visa. Asylum seekers, refugees, students seeking particular types of employment, applicants adjusting to permanent residence status, people in or applying for temporary protected status, fiancés of American citizens, and dependents of foreign government officials are among the types of workers who can apply for an EAD. If you wish to apply for an EAD, you must file Form I-765 (eye seven sixty-five), or Application for Employment Authorization, by mail with the INS office in your area. An EAD contains a photograph and a pre-assigned expiration date. Most are valid for one year, and may be renewed yearly. If you’re authorized to work for a specific employer, you don’t need an EAD, but you must show your passport and your Arrival-Departure record, or Form I-94 (eye ninety-four) to your employer. Some foreign nationals, like tourists and business visitors, aren’t eligible to receive employment authorization at all.

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