Getting a work permit

If you live in the United States but are not a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR or “green card” holder), you need a work permit to be legally employed. Learn more about getting a work permit in the U.S.

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Understanding the Basics

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A work permit allows non-citizens to work in the U.S.

To be eligible for a work permit, you must have a certain kind of immigration status or visa like:

  • DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows people who entered the U.S. as children to stay here temporarily without risking removal. Having DACA makes you eligible for a work permit. Learn more about DACA.
  • TPS. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows foreign citizens in the U.S. to stay here if returning home becomes dangerous. Having TPS makes you eligible to get a work permit. Learn more about TPS.
  • Other humanitarian status. If you have humanitarian status like asylum, VAWA, U visa or T visa, you may be eligible for a work permit. Learn about humanitarian paths to citizenship.
  • Employment. Becoming eligible for a work permit through employment is difficult. If you are a skilled worker or professional, your employer may be able to get you a visa that allows you to apply for a work permit. You cannot apply for a work permit on your own. The government determines if you’re eligible based on your years of training and education. To learn more about the skilled worker and professional criteria, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
  • Family. You may be eligible for a work permit if you are in the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR or “green card” holder) through a family relationship. Learn more about becoming an LPR.

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