Can I work in the U.S. while waiting for my green card?

Can I work in the U.S. while waiting for my green card?

What is the USA Green Card All About? 

The USA Green Card is also the permanent resident card that allows you to live and work in the USA permanently. Various eligibility criteria and procedures need to be performed before becoming a USA green card holder as it is not available and open to all.

Can I work in the USA while waiting for my green card? 

Most people are under the misconception that you need to have a green card to work in the USA, but it is not the case. You can work in the USA without a green card, but you will need a work permit which is also called an Employment Authorization Document (AED). 

Getting an AED is quite an easy and straightforward procedure compared to getting a green card. It allows you to work for any employer in the USA with certain exceptions, such as restrictions on working for the US government. 

However, if you have not obtained an AED, you cannot legally work within the USA and will get into trouble with the law and immigration authorities if caught doing so.

Common FAQs 

If you are ever stuck about the laws and normality of working and living in the USA and have any concerns about what you can and cannot do without an AED/work permit and a green card, here are a few carefully selected FAQs that will provide you quick answers to your questions. 

FAQ 1- What Type of job can you work while waiting for your green card?

There are no restrictions on the jobs you can do while waiting for your green card. However, working in the USA is permitted only if you have your AED or work permit. You can work full-time, part-time or remote jobs while waiting for your green card in any field. 

FAQ 2- Will you need an AED/ work permit after getting your green card?

After getting your green card, you will no longer require a work permit or AED. The green card would suffice for your employment. 

FAQ 3- What categories of people are eligible for the USA green card?

If you fall into one or more of the following categories, you will be eligible for a USA green card:

  • If you have a spouse or child/children who are citizens of the USA
  • If you have a family member who is a green card holder
  • If you are a refugee or asylum seeker
  • If you have a special immigrant status
  • If you are a religious worker
  • If you are an investor
  • If you have a job offer from a U.S. employer
  • If you are a student
  • If you are a member of the military
  • If you are a national of a country with a special relationship with the United States

FAQ 4- Can you apply for a green card and a work permit at the same time? 

Yes, you can apply for both work permit/AED and green card at the same time. It is quite efficient and time savvy to do it this way.

FAQ 5- What documents you need to submit to apply for a work permit while waiting for a green card? 

In order to successfully apply and obtain your work permit while waiting for your green card, you need to submit a completed and filled application form and the processing fee along with the following documents:

  • A copy of your Form I-94
  • Two passport size photographs
  • A copy of your last EAD (If you have ever had one before)
  • A government-issued identity document

FAQ 6- What happens if you get fired or quit your existing job when you have an AED? 

There is nothing that will happen if you quit your job or get fired from it. You can still use your own AED because it gives you the freedom to work anywhere you like. 

FAQ 7- Are There Limits on The Number of Hours You Can Work With an EAD?

No, there are no limits on the number of hours you can work with an EAD. You’re free to work as many or as few hours as you want as long as you have an EAD.

FAQ 8- Do you need a social security number to be employed while waiting for your green card?

Yes, you do need a social security number to work in the USA while waiting for your green card to be processed. After obtaining your EAD, you can request and apply for a social security number. The EAD and social security number need to be applied separately, having one do not mean you automatically get the other. 

Also, bear in mind that you need to have an authorized work permit/AED before you can consider applying for a social security number. So it is best to work out your AED before requesting a social security number. 


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