If you are entertaining the idea of exploring career opportunities in the United States, you may wonder what documentation you will need. All migrants interested in working in the US need either a work permit or a work visa. Let’s investigate the differences between them to give you a better understanding of how to move forward.
What Is a Visa?
A visa is a document issued by a country’s embassy or consulate giving a visitor permission to enter, transit or leave that country for a specific purpose and period. For example, a visitor’s visa allows a person entry for visiting purposes, while a work visa grants access to the country for work.
For countries requiring a visa, usually, you must apply and obtain it before arrival. Visas are typically stamps or physical stickers placed in your passport. They are subject to the discretion of immigration officials, who can still deny you access to the country at each port of entry.
What Is a US Work Visa?
A US work visa grants a visitor permission to enter the US for a fixed period to work in a specific industry or job. You must obtain it before arriving in the US. In many situations, the US employer must file a petition on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for approval.
Work visas are typically valid for up to one year. If your work visa expires while you are still in the US, you can apply to renew it while in the country. If you leave the country with an expired work visa, you will not be permitted to re-enter until you renew it, even if you hold a valid work permit. There are a variety of work visas for different categories of work.
What Is a US Work Permit?
A US work permit is a legally authorized document issued by USCIS. It endorses an individual already in the US to work, usually without restriction. It does not grant you entry or leave to the US. Another term for a US work permit is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Once you are in the US as a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), you can apply for an EAD. US Citizens, naturalized immigrants and green card holders do not need an EAD to work in the US.
Work permits, similar to work visas, can be valid for up to a year. Your renewal process depends on the type of employment and visa you hold.
The application process for a US work permit involves completing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and submitting the relevant documentation and fees.
US Immigration Lawyer in Montreal
A US visa gives you the right to enter, transit and leave the US, while a US work permit authorizes you to seek and take employment. Each has specific eligibility rules and different application processes. The USCIS regularly updates this process, so it is beneficial to have a US Immigration lawyer to guide you.