March 1, 2022. 
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is the difference between a U.S. Work Visa and a Work Permit?

You might be considering taking up employment in the United States, or perhaps, you’re simply curious about the ways you can legally work in the U.S. In this blog post you can find a list of differences that characterize work visas and work permits. Visas are issued before the applicant arrives in the United States, and a work permit, on the other hand, is granted to the person who’s already in the U.S. First, let’s take a brief look at U.S. work visas.

Work Visa

U.S. work visas can be both for temporary and permanent employment. As we’ve said, work visas are issued before the applicant enters the country. Typically, they’re more difficult to obtain than work permits. There are certain requirements that you must meet, and they determine your status once in the United States. To read more about different types of work visas, you can take a look at our blog post: U.S. Work Visas: Temporary and Permanent Employment.

Work Permit

A work permit, also known as an employment authorization document (EAD), is a card issued by the USCIS. This permit authorizes foreign nationals to work in the United States. You have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the work permit. One of the requirements is that you have either an immigrant or non-immigrant visa that allows you to live and work in the U.S.

First, the F1 students in the United States who intend to do optional practical training have to obtain a work permit. Furthermore, spouses of some visa holders, such as E-1/E-2, L-1, H-1B, and J-1 visa holders, may be eligible for a work permit. Adjustment of status applicants, K-1 visa holders, and immigrants with temporary protected status may also apply for this card.

Who does not need a work permit to work in the U.S.?

As a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you don’t need to have a work permit to be able to work. Having an employment visa also doesn’t require you to obtain a work permit. And lastly, of course, U.S. citizens don’t need work permits.

How do I apply for a work visa or work permit?

Applying for a visa can be done through the Consular processing or Adjustment of status. Work permit, on the other hand, requires you to submit Form I-765 to the USCIS, together with supporting documents. For any additional information, you can contact our online consultants. They will be more than happy to answer any of your questions and provide additional information.

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