Work Permit & Driver’s License

Who Gets a Work Permit?

An Employment Authorization Document, EAD, is known as a work permit.  Not all foreigners need a work permit. Asylees and legal permanent residents do not need to file an application. Other foreigners, such as foreign workers and students in training, can only work for certain companies. 

Generally, a person with a work permit gets a driver’s license.  The laws are different in each state.  Persons who have a work permit do not have to also apply for a work visa.

The most popular way to get a work permit and a driver’s license is to apply for a Green Card.  Because Adjustment of Status cases take over a year for Immigration to decide, the government allows foreigners to apply for a work permit at the same time that they apply for legal permanent residence.  

How Long Does It Take to Get a Work Permit?

How long it takes to get a work permit depends on whether it is the first application or a renewal. Generally, the first work permit takes fewer than four months.  a renewal work permit application can take about six months.

Asylum applicants must wait 150 days after their case has been filed before they can apply for a work permit. Fortunately, their work permits usually arrive in about 2 months. In August 2020, the rules changed so that asylum applicants must wait over a year for a work permit and some never receive them at all. It is important to hire an attorney to understand how these work permit law and regulation changes affect you.

The two other benefits of getting a work permit are the Social Security card and the driver’s license issued by the state. The Social Security Administration sends the card by mail if an applicant makes that request on their first work permit application.

Who Long Does It Take to Get a Driver’s License?

Receiving the driver’s license is more complicated. Each state has different rules about who can get a driver’s license and for how long. Some states grant driver’s licenses to those with no work permit and the undocumented.  Strangely, it is easier for a newly arrived tourist to get a driver’s license in Florida than it is for an asylum applicant who has been in the United States for a decade.