WHAT IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS
CAN FOREIGN CITIZENS SHOW TO EMPLOYERS AS PROOF OF THEIR WORK AUTHORIZATION
IN THE UNITED STATES?
To consult an immigration lawyer regarding employment authorization
for a foreign citizen, please call us at (626) 642-8066 or email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. An attorney
in our office would be happy to assist you.
There is a direct relationship between a foreign citizen’s immigration
or visa status in the United States and the type
of document issued to him or her by the US Citizenship and Immigration
Employers should become familiar with the different category types.
PERMANENT, UNRESTRICTED EMPLOYMENT
Common evidence of work authorization:
• US passport (unexpired or expired)
• US birth certificate
• Permanent Resident Card (Resident Alien Card, Form I-551,
and/or Alien Registration Receipt Card) also known as "Green Card"
• Unrestricted Social Security Card
Employment Available to:
• US citizens
• Lawful Permanent Residents (i.e., Green Card holders)
• Asylees and Refugees.
Note: Employers should know that only aliens who check the “lawful
permanent resident” box on Form I-9 Section 1 would be authorized
(but not required) to present a “Green Card” for Section
TEMPORARY, UNRESTRICTED EMPLOYMENT
Common Evidence of work authorization:
• Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
• For information on how to apply for the EAD, visit this link:
To evidence work authorization that is temporary and unrestricted,
an employee will show an employment authorization document (EAD on Form
I-688B, Form I-766, or Form I-688A in certain legalization cases). EADs
are issued to aliens for several different purposes. Common categories
of EAD holders include aliens awaiting adjustment of status, fiancee
in K-1 status, and aliens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Employers may want to keep in mind that aliens who check the “alien
authorized to work until .....” box in I-9 Section 1 will be authorized
to present an EAD for Section 2 purposes. EADs are generally valid for
one year. Similarly, the work authorization expiration date listed in
I-9 Section 1 will often be the expiration date of the EAD presented
for Section 2 purposes.
TEMPORARY, RESTRICTED EMPLOYMENT (EMPLOYER-SPECIFIC)
Common Evidence of work authorization:
• Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record showing endorsement of employer-specific
visa classification and unexpired period of admission.
• Employment Available to: Aliens granted employer-specific
work authorized visas, including A-1, A-2, and A-3, C-2 and C-3, E-1
and E-2, F-1 (for on campus employment and curricular practical training
only, and only if presented with Form I-20 endorsed for the specific
employment), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and G-5, H-1b, H-1c, H-2a, H-2b, and
H-3, I, J-1, L-1a and L-1b, O-1 and O-2, P-1, P-2 and P-3, Q, R-1, NATO,
TN, and N–2.
Employer-specific employment authorization is evidenced on the Form
I-94, Arrival-Departure Record that foreign citizens receive and must
retain with their passports. Upon admission into the US, these forms
are stamped or marked with the arriving aliens’ immigration classification
and with the period of authorized stay in the US under that classification.
In order to be acceptable as proof of work eligibility, the stamp must
specify that employment is authorized or indicate an unexpired nonimmigrant
admission. A stamp indicating a nonimmigrant admission means that the
alien may work for the approved employer(s) and for no other employer(s)
until expiration of the indicated period of approved stay. Therefore,
only US employers whose petitions to employ these aliens have been approved
by the USCIS may accept this documentation to satisfy employment eligibility
verification requirements of Form I-9. The employee can work for the
petitioning employer(s) until the period of admission/work authorization
approved by the USCIS expires. The back of Form I-94 may also be completed
by which to indicate employment restriction for those aliens authorized
to work temporarily only for a single employer. With limited exceptions,
aliens are obligated to relinquish their I-94 when leaving the US.
• EWI (aliens who entered and remain in the US illegally, without
inspection) or PWI (present without inspection)
• Visitors (B-1 and B-2, including entry
into US on Visa Waiver with few exceptions)
• Dependents of persons authorized to be employed incident to
their status (including but not limited to H-4 and TD) except spouses
of the L and E classification
• Dependents of students (F-2 and M-2)
THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL
ADVICE. SUCH INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
GENERALLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS.
READERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SOLVE INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS
ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN AND ARE STRONGLY ADVISED
TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION LAWYER REGARDING SPECIFIC
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