Basic Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Applying For A Work Visa
If you currently live in the United States and want to work for a United States employer while your green card application (Form I-485) is in process, you will need to apply for a work permit first. If you live abroad, you will not have to apply for a work permit.
There are other factors to consider after applying for a work visa.
Read the following to answer your questions:
I am married to a US citizen or green card holder and live in the United States. Can I start working while I wait for my green card?
If you already have a valid work visa, for example an H-1b or L-1 visa, you can continue to work in the United States while your residency application is processed. Otherwise, you will need to obtain a work permit (officially called an “Employment Authorization Document” or EAD) before beginning an employment relationship in the United States.
For spouses of US citizens, the work permit application is normally submitted as part of the initial green card application package.
However, spouses of green card holders must wait until they are eligible to submit their green card application before applying for a work permit.
How long will I wait after applying for my work visa?
Your work permit will arrive in approximately five months, or up to seven months in some cases, after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your work permit application. (Until recently, the typical process for a permit work application took 90 days, but an increasing delay has caused additional delays. You can check the updated process times once a month on the USCIS website.)
Please note that you will not be able to submit a work permit application until you have submitted the green card application (Form I-485). Spouses of green card holders will need to wait for a visa number before filing the I-485, which means they must wait an additional 19-25 months. Spouses of US citizens do not have to wait for a visa number, they can submit their work permit applications with the initial application package containing the I-485.
Depending on your situation, the green card will normally arrive between 10 and 13 months (if you are married to a U.S. citizen) or more than 3 years (if you are married to a green card holder) after the date on which submitted his application for a green card. Once you have your own green card, you will be authorized to work for any US employer, and you will not have to apply for an additional work permit.
Can my spouse, a U.S. citizen, file a work permit application on my behalf?
No. Your spouse will not be able to submit a work permit application on your behalf. Only you, the spouse seeking a green card, will need to sign the work permit application (Form I-765).
What documents do I need to present with my work permit application?
Many documents are needed to apply for a work permit. The most important are your I-94 travel history (if available) and previous work permits (if you have had them). Also, identification documents are required if you have not previously had a work permit. Our detailed work permit guide includes a complete list of required documents.
How much does it cost to apply for a work permit?
Obtaining a work permit is free, whether you apply before or after submitting your application for a marriage green card (form I-485).
Boundless takes all the government-requested forms, including the work permit application, and turns them into simple questions that you can answer online, usually in less than two hours.