The United States of America attracts millions of workers from all over the globe on a regular basis. The situation there has come to a point where they have more workers than jobs. And of course there is the fear of Americans about losing out their jobs to foreigners. But truth be told, in spite of all the drawbacks that one gets told about working in America, the process for getting a permit to work in America and acquire a work VISA to stay there is one of the simplest albeit long and drawn out process.
According to the US work permit and work VISA laws the foreign workers are classified broadly into three distinct categories.
- Temporary (non-immigrant) workers: These are the workers who strive to enter the United States for a specific purpose or profession. These people are not seeking asylum and are looking to enter the states for specific work purposes. These workers are classified as non immigrants and their work permits restrict them to that specific vocation during their stay in the USA. Their work VISA is also highly restrictive and allows them to gain access to a few specific places which are required for their work.
- Permanent (immigrant) workers: These kinds of workers’ work permits and work VISAs allow them to stay in the USA indefinitely while carrying out the specific job for which they were granted their work VISA in the first place. This person is also authorized to live and go wherever they want in the States.
- Students and Exchange visitors: There are numerous instances of students working in the USA who hail from foreign nations. Though these people have arrived at the States through a student VISA, they can obtain permission from the school, more specifically the DSO (Designated School Official. Exchange visitors can get the same permit through the RO (Responsible Officer). Exchange visitors may also be temporarily eligible to work in the United States through the exchange visitor visa program.
Applying for work permit or a US work VISA requires you to go through a lot of steps. These steps are in place for the safekeeping of both the visitor and the USA.
- Fill out the form I-765: This form is a self-explanatory form that is available to be downloaded for free at the USCIS website. The form asks you your basic details which ranges from your name, country of residence, vocation et al. There are some questions that need to be answered to the point and precisely. Question number 22 asks you about your last trip to the States. This includes it if you already stayed there and went to another country for a brief period. Then there is question number 29 which enquires you about your eligibility category. The categories are (a)(5) for granted asylum, (a)(12) for Temporary Protected Status(TPS), (c)(5) for the J-2 spouses for the J-1 exchange visitors, (c)(3)(C) for students doing their post-completion optional practical training, (c)(9) for anybody with a pending green card adjustment status et al. The confusion arises when your category has only three letters. The due process during that time is to put the first letter in the second space and the second letter in the third space provided by the parentheses.
- Attaching the proof of eligibility for your particular work permit: After you are done with the initial part, you need to upload a photocopied version of the document that stipulates your category as you have mentioned it in the Question number 29. For example, if you are there due to your company’s transfer, then you need to produce the order which states that you are transferred to the States. But it is notable to remember that the status that you have mentioned, if you are applying for the status in parallel to applying for the VISA, then you don’t need to produce any document. USCIS would verify your status internally.
- Attachment of the required fee: The fee for a work permit or a work VISA was $410 in the year of 2019. But it is advisable to double check the fee at the USCIS website everyday because USCIS fees are notorious for going up almost every day. If you are requesting deferred action then you need to pay up an additional charge of $85 as the fee for biometrics. But before paying the fee, you need to remember that not all the applicants need to pay the fee. For example, if you have filed to adjust the status of your green card then you need not pay the fee as the payment for your application is covered by the amount of money you paid in lieu of the I-485 fee. There are multiple mode of payments available at your disposal to pay the fee. You can choose to pay through money order, personal check, credit card, authorization for credit card transactions, using form G-1450, or through a cashier’s check.
- Submitting of your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) form: The I-765 form is to be submitted to the USCIS through mail. So before mailing check the USCIS website extensively to determine which address to use. The address is different for different categories. Additionally the address also deviates if the person is using the postal or courier services. So before sending it in, check extensively to determine whether you have the right address or not.
Getting a work permit or a work VISA in USA is becoming more and more common as millions of people go in and out of the country on a daily basis. But the problem with it is that most people have no idea how to procure a work permit and hence are forced to get aid from middlemen who end up taking more than the work VISA itself. So it is better to know the procedure yourself. Plus it is not even a complicated one and you can finish almost the entire process while sitting comfortably at your desk.
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