If you’re not a U.S. citizen and you don’t have a green card, you can work in the U.S. if USCIS gives you permission and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

U.S. employers must make sure all employees are allowed to work in the U.S. The EAD, also known as a work permit, shows that you have permission to work.

If you’ve applied for a Green Card using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status before you can work USCIS requires you to apply for an EAD while your green card application is pending.

How to apply

Use Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to apply for, renew, or replace a work permit.

You can submit the work permit application along with your Green Card application. Or you can apply for the work permit later and submit it with a copy of the USCIS notice that it received your Green Card application.

A work permit is usually good for 1 year. If your Green Card application is still pending and you’re still eligible to work in the U.S., then you can apply to renew the Green Card.

Apply on time to renew

You can apply to renew your work permit up to 120 days before the original EAD expires.

Beginning January 17, 2017, if you still work in the approved job category and you apply to renew in that category before the EAD expires, then you can keep working for up to 180 days after the expiration date on the EAD.

For the next 180 days, you can show that you have permission to work by presenting your EAD along with the Form I-797C, Notice of Action from USCIS that shows you applied on time to renew.