Immigration

If you want to work as an immigrant in the U.S., these are the documents you’ll need

To be able to work legally in the U.S. immigrants must show their prospective employers documents that verify their immigration status and prove that they are authorized to work.
To be able to work legally in the U.S. immigrants must show their prospective employers documents that verify their immigration status and prove that they are authorized to work. Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the key goals of immigrants who come to the United States is to work – at anything, because it’s clear that the American Dream requires a lot of sweat and a few tears.

But to be able to work legally, immigrants must show their prospective employers documents that verify their immigration status and prove that they are authorized to work.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has put together a list of documents that immigrants may be required to show in order to work legally.

The best documents establish both identity and authorization to work. Immigrants need only one of the following:

  • U.S. passport or passport card.

  • Permanent residence card, also known as a “green card.”

  • Foreign passport with form I-551 stamped on it.

  • U.S. Employment Authorization Document, or EAD.

  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands, accompanied by Form I-94 or I-94A indicating the admission of non-immigrants under Free Association Treaties between the U.S. and those countries.

If immigrants do not have any of these documents, they can use these documents:

  • Social Security cards, unless they include the words “not valid for employment” or “valid for work only with DHS authorization.”

  • A birth document certified by the U.S. State Department with Forms DS-1350, FS-545 or FS-240.

  • Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county or municipal authority in the United States, with an official seal.

  • Identity document from a U.S. native American tribe.

  • U.S. citizenship identity card, Form I-197. This card is no longer issued but remains valid.

  • U.S. resident identity card, Form I-179. This card is no longer issued but remains valid.

  • A work authorization document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Follow Johanna A. Álvarez on Twitter: @jalvarez8.

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