Work Authorization

Many people come to the United States for the vast opportunities of employment and to better their economic situations back home. Many times these alien residents don’t intend to remain in the country but for short periods of time. No alien is allowed to work in the United States without first obtaining a work authorization. Obtaining, maintaining and evidencing valid employment authorization is challenging. The substantive requirements and mandatory procedures vary among the different categories of work authorization. Moreover, because U.S. citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) has not created a single work permit, employers must become familiar with the different documentation evidencing employment authorization, especially in light of the increased enforcement of the immigration reform and control act of 1986 (IRCA) by the department of homeland security (DHS).

There are three classes of aliens allowed to work in the United States:

Aliens authorized to work incident to their immigration status, without restriction as to the nature or location of employment, but who in some instances may be required to first obtain an employment authorization document;

Aliens permitted to work for a specific employer incident to their status, without obtaining an employment authorization document; and

Aliens eligible for employment authorization, but who must first obtain an employment authorization document from USCIS.

It is important to consult with an attorney familiar with these various forms of work authorization. Attorney Michael Phillips can help you determine which authorization you are required to have if you are the alien or even what you should expect to see if you are the employer. The various classes of aliens who have employment authorization in the United States do not all follow the same procedure to obtain the authorization, nor do they receive the same documents to establish authorization.