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When Will an Immigrant Be Allowed to Work in the United States?

 Posted on January 27, 2024 in Immigration

TX immigration lawyerFor many immigrants, one of the main goals of coming to the United States is to find employment and build a better life. However, not all immigrants are automatically allowed to work upon their arrival. The ability to work in the U.S. depends on several factors, including visa type and immigration status. A Texas attorney who assists with immigration issues can provide information about when it may be necessary to apply for permission to work in the United States.

Work Authorization for Permanent Residents

A permanent resident, also known as a Green Card holder, will generally have the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Once an immigrant obtains a Green Card through family sponsorship, employment-based sponsorship, or other means, they can apply for unrestricted Social Security cards that allow them to legally work for any employer in any occupation. Immigrants who receive 

While most permanent residents have unrestricted employment authorization from the moment they receive their Green Cards, there may be certain restrictions based on specific circumstances or visa categories. People in the U.S. on non-immigrant visas, such as student visas, may need to apply for employment authorization. Immigrants with asylum or refugee status or those who have a pending Green Card application will also need to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) before they can work in the U.S.

H-1B Visa Holders

U.S.-based employers may hire immigrant workers who have specialized knowledge and skills on a temporary basis. An employer must sponsor a foreign worker for an H-1B visa, and they will apply for this type of visa by filing a petition with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Holders of H-1B visas are authorized to work only for their sponsoring employer in positions that require specialized knowledge. These will typically be professional occupations such as engineering or computer science. They cannot change employers without obtaining another H-1B petition approval from USCIS. They will usually be able to live and work in the U.S. for three years, but they may receive an extension allowing them to stay in the U.S. for a total of six years.

Other Temporary Work Visas

In addition to the H-1B visa, the United States offers various temporary work visas that enable immigrants to work in specific job categories or industries. These visas include but are not limited to:

  • H-2A Visa: For agricultural workers employed on a seasonal or temporary basis.
  • H-2B Visa: For non-agricultural workers employed on a seasonal, intermittent, peak-load basis, such as construction or resort industry workers.
  • L-1 Visa: For intracompany transferees who are managers, executives, or employees with specialized knowledge who are transferring from a foreign company's branch to a U.S. subsidiary or affiliate.
  • E Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Visas (E-1/E-2): For immigrants who are engaged in substantial trade between their home country and the U.S. or those who are investing significant capital in new enterprises within the U.S.

Please note that each of these temporary work visas has specific eligibility requirements and limitations regarding the duration of employment authorization. It is crucial for employers and immigrants seeking these visas to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that the correct procedures are followed when receiving labor certifications and applying for employment-based visas.

Employment Authorization Limitations for Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants typically do not have permission to legally work in the United States. However, certain circumstances may provide immigrants with limited employment authorization under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or other humanitarian grounds. An immigration lawyer can provide guidance on the options that may be available, and they can assist with filing the appropriate forms and documents to obtain employment authorization.

Contact a Plano Immigration Lawyer for Employment Authorization

If you need assistance with obtaining work authorization in the United States, or if you have questions about your options for applying for a visa that will allow you to live and work in the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis, the knowledgeable and experienced Dallas immigration attorney at Law Office of Jae Lee is here to assist you. Call our office today at  214-295-3014 to set up a free consultation and get the legal help you need as you address immigration-related concerns.

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