How Do I Get A Work Permit

How Do I Get A Work Permit

How do you get a work permit? It’s a question I get all the time from my immigration clients. I even get it from people at parties. People are always asking me how to get a work permit.

A lot of times people will come to me and say, “Listen, I don’t want a full-blown green card. I don’t want to become a citizen. I just want to be able to work in the United States legally. How do I do that?” Today, I’m going to answer that question for you.

I’m Josh Goldstein, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. I help good people across the United States and around the world get work visas, green cards, and citizenship.

A misconception about work permits

Let’s dive right into the work permit issue. There’s a big misconception about the work permit. A lot of people think that it’s this thing that you can get on its own. They believe that it’s separate from a green card or citizenship, but usually that’s not the case.

There are several ways that you can get a work permit. All of them involve having an underlying basis for your immigration status. It’s never just about the work permit itself. It’s always about how the work permit is tied to some other immigration benefit or case.

Different ways to get a work permit

Here are some examples of different ways you can get a work permit and how it ties into immigration cases. I think you’ll begin to see how this works.


For example, if you have DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, one of the benefits is that you can apply for and receive a work permit. By work permit, I mean an employment authorization document or an approved I-765. So if you have DACA, you can get a work permit. In fact, that’s one of the main benefits of DACA.


If you have TPS, Temporary Protective Status, you can also get a work permit.

A pending green card case

The main way that people get work permits is that they have a pending green card case. For example, you can apply for a green card through Adjustment of Status. This means that you’re married to a US citizen and are applying for a green card within the United States. As an interim benefit, you will get a work permit while the case is pending.

In all of these examples, whether through DACA, TPS, or a pending green card case, the work permit is never standing on its own. It’s always tied to some other immigration benefit.

People often say, “Hey, I just want to work permit. I don’t need any of these other things. I just want want to be able to work legally.”

In response, I always want to dive into their immigration situation and say, “Well, are you married to a US citizen? Is your employer going to sponsor your green card? Do you have TPS? Do you have DACA? Or is there some other basis for your green card, for your work status, for your immigration status?”

A work permit is tied to your immigration status

That’s how you get a work permit. You don’t get the work permit  on its own. It’s always a work permit in conjunction with some other immigration status.

So if you want a work permit, the best way to get it is to sort out your immigration status overall. I hope this helps you. If you have questions or need help with your situation, contact us today.


Josh Goldstein
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