How Long does It Take to Get a Work Permit?

The work permit will increase your self-esteem and help you support your family and yourself.  Moreover, you might want to start your professional life here for the following two reasons:

  • If you are applying for any family visa from within the United States.
  • If you are waiting for your green card for months. So you need to get a work permit which is also known as an employment authorization document.

The US citizenship and immigration services take the fact that you are not working without any authorization very seriously. So your entire Green Card application can come at a risk. Even if you have legal status to be present in the United States, it does not mean that you have a permit to work in the US.

You should not work in the US until and unless your work permit arrives. There are only a few immigration statuses that will allow you to work on paid in the United States for example H-1B Visa.

It becomes easier when you apply at the time you have applied for your green card application. You need to know certain things if you’re waiting for your green card to arrive.

How to apply for a work permit

Approving application online

With USCIS Form I-765, you can apply for it along with your green card. Also, you can file this application at a time when you have received the notification that USCIS has got your green card application.  All you need to do is submit two passport-size photos and the completed form.

You do not need to fill in any fees for a work permit application. You can apply for it even if you have already filed for a Green Card application. And, you also need to submit a copy of the notification which you get from the USCIS that your green card has been received.

Documents required

You need to provide the following documents:

  • You need to submit a copy of your travel record I-94 or print out of your electronic I-94 which you obtain from US customs and border protection.
  • You should submit your US Visa
  • You also need to give a copy of your passport photo page.
  • If you have any previous work history in the US, then you need to submit copies of your previous work permit.
  • You need to submit a recent 2 Inch By Inch passport-style photo of yourself.
  • You will also have to submit the notice which will acknowledge from USCIS that your green card application is pending.

You need to submit one of the following forms of government-issued identification if you have a history of a work permit before in the US:

  • Birth certificate and your photo ID.
  • You need to submit a copy of the visa which a consulate of a country that is not of the United States will issue.
  • You need to submit your national identity documents along with your photo and fingerprints.

Length of time taken to get a work permit

USCIS will take 150 to 200 days, that is 5 to 7 months to process your application. Previously within 90 days, USCIS used to process your work permit application but due to the growing backlog, the work is now delayed.

Eligibility for getting it

You are eligible for getting a work permit if you are eligible for a family-based Green Card according to USCIS. You will not be eligible for getting one in the United States under two situations:

  • If you have filled this form incorrectly or you forgot to give your sign or any important document.
  • If you get a green card faster than your work permit. This is a not very serious problem because if you have a green card then you don’t need the permit.


You need to get a social security number as soon as you receive your work permit if you have never worked in the United States before. You have to go through your local social security administration office to get a social security number. As you cannot just get a social security number with just the application.

Then, you have to show your passport to the officer and your work permit. The address which you provided on your application form will receive the social security card through the mail.