Every US employer is requested to check that all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are authorized to work in the United States. Temporary aliens in the US can apply for employment authorisation document (EAD) (work permit) by applying in the Form I-765, along with required documents.

Working With a Green Card

If you are a US Citizen or a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), you are eligible to work without any work permit. A proof of citizenship or green card is a proof of work authorisation in the US Non-immigrant, while any other category is eligible to apply for EAD.

H4 visa holder/ L2 visa holder is not eligible to work in the US, unless she has applied for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident by applying under form I-485, or her visa status is converted into H1B.

However, if a spouse who is already in the US under H4 or L2 visa, is qualified to get H1B visa, an employer who is willing to provide employment to such a person can apply for adjustment of status from H4 or L2 to H1B status. In this situation, once it is approved, she is eligible to work.

If someone’s husband is on H1B visa or L2 Visa to the United States, the husband’s employer may sponsor the husband to become a permanent resident in the US. When this is done, the spouse can also apply for adjustment of status by filing form I-485.

Working with EAD

For obtaining EAD, there is no need to wait for green card to be approved by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). EAD can be applied, along with adjustment of status application, under form I-485.

In general, when the adjustment of status application is acknowledged by the USCIS, they also issue EAD. EAD is generally issued for a specific period and many times it is issued for a period, which USCIS thinks it is going to take to process the application for adjustment of status. If EAD period expires, she has to apply for renewal of EAD to continue to work.

If an adjustment of status to become a green card holder is filed, and if the non-immigrant visa period expires, the employee and his/her family has to apply for Advance Parole (AP) for traveling outside of the US, until they physically get their green cards.

What to Do With H4 or L2 Visa

To overcome the difficulty of not able to work, while remaining in the status of H4 or L2, one can find some online courses to strengthen their skills, or join a regular University on a full time course, after adjusting their status to a student visa. Once they obtain EAD after adjustment of status under form I-485 is filed, this education will be very useful.

All the above information is furnished based on research carried out by the author of this article, and always the individuals are requested to consult an immigration attorney to discuss her individual situation carefully.