Many U.S. workers rely and depend on work permits to maintain their employability. However, the expiration date of these permits can sometimes come quickly and can even be overlooked. An expired work permit generates consequences if you continue to work illegally.
If you have ever wondered,can I work with my expired work permit, Jaskot Law is here to answer your questions and keep you up to date on U.S. immigration laws and how to avoid consequences that can significantly impact your life in the United States.
What is a work permit in the United States?
Throughout time, people around the world have aspired, and continue to do so, to seek a more promising future, with new and different job opportunities in a different country. However, in order to make this dream a reality in the United States, certain fundamental requirements must be met.
The U.S. work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is a crucial element for working legally in the United States. This official document issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proves to employers and anyone else that an individual is authorized to work in the country.
Understanding work permits in the United States
Processing a work permit in the United States can be a confusing process, but it is essential for those seeking employment in this country, as it gives holders the legal right to work in the country.
The work permit is valid for any type of employment and is not restricted to a specific industry or a certain type of work. However, obtaining an EAD does not guarantee employment. EAD holders must seek and apply for jobs on their own. In addition, not all immigrants are eligible for a work permit.
What happens when your work permit expires?
The work permit or Employment Authorization that allows non-citizens to work legally in the United States is valid for a certain period of time. Like other documents, and until before the stipulated expiration date, an individual will be able to perform legal work in the country without complications.
However, if the work permit expires, the individual will not only be working illegally in the United States, but could face serious legal and personal consequences, which, in turn, could affect his or her future on U.S. soil. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the implications of the EAD expiring, as well as the options available to renew the permit.
Possible complications of working with an expired permit
A work permit in the United States has a duration of 1 or 2 years, the exact date is detailed in the same document. If the permit expires and the individual continues to work, he or she is at risk of serious complications such as those listed below:
Legal consequences of working illegally
- Deportation: one of the most serious sanctions, which involves returning the illegal worker to his or her country of origin.
- Barred from entry or permanent inadmissibility: this will be when an illegal worker loses any possibility of re-entering the United States, either for a period of time or permanently.
- Employer sanctions: Employers who hire illegal workers may be subject to sanctions such as fines, disqualification, or loss of business license.
Personal consequences of working illegally
- Social isolation: Illegal worker status can lead to social isolation and seclusion for fear of being discovered.
- Impact on current and future applications: working with an expired permit can have a significant impact on visa applications or future work permits. The existence of a prior violation may be a reason to deny an application.
- Labor exploitation: not having a work permit may put the individual in a vulnerable situation and expose him/her to unregulated working conditions, which may include low pay, long and extended working hours, dangerous working conditions, among others.
Exceptions for working with an expired permit
As mentioned above, U.S. immigration law takes violations of work permit expiration dates very seriously, and the penalties, in addition to being severe, can have serious implications for the individual concerned. However, there are some exceptions to continue working after the EAD has expired.
- Status Adjustment in process. If adjustment of status has been applied for and is awaiting a response or resolution, it is likely that the individual will be allowed to continue working in the United States under what is known as an “automatic extension”.
- Automatic extension. Some specific categories of visas and work permits allow the individual to continue working in the United States by allowing automatic authorization of the employment permit while its renewal is being processed.
Although these exceptions exist, it isalways advisable to keep the expiration dates of work permits in mind and apply for renewals in a timely manner to avoid any complications that may affect your stay and performance in the United States.
How to renew your work permit in the United States?
Renewing your U.S. work permit requires that you follow a well-defined process, similar to the petition process. The following are the steps to follow to obtain the renewal of a work permit.
Steps to apply for an extension of the Employment Authorization Document
STEP 1: Determine if you qualify for a work permit extension.
STEP 2: File Form I-765 to arrange for renewal of the work permit before the current EAD expires. This document must be submitted at least 120 days before your current work permit expires along with a copy of your current EAD, your I-94 and valid passport or travel document.
STEP 3: Pay the corresponding fee, as long as you are not exempt from doing so.
STEP 4: Submit the application with all relevant documentation.
STEP 5: Wait for USCIS approval.
How do I know if I qualify for the automatic extension?
The automatic EAD extension period is granted to certain individuals to avoid delays and gaps in the processing of employment documents. If an individual is eligible for an automatic extension, he/she must fall into one of the following categories:
|Eligibility category indicated on Form I-765
|Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
|In a position of Deportation or Removal
|Temporary Protected Status
|Spouse of an E nonimmigrant with a valid I-94. Includes E-1, E-1S, E-2S and E-3S.
|Spouse of an L-1 nonimmigrant with a valid I-94. Includes L-2 and L-2S.
|Asylum in process
|Adjustment of Status pending under Section 245
|Suspension of Removal Petitions, Cancellation of Removal Petitioners, Cancellation of Removal Petitioners under NACARA
|Registry Creation (Residency Based on Adjustment)
|Pending application for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or application for extension of TPS. (USCIS considers that the applicant may be eligible for TPS and may receive EAD on a temporary basis).
|Legalization under Section 210 (I-700 in process)
|Legalization under Section 245A (I-687 in process)
|Legalization under LIFE
|Spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrants with an unexpired I-94 showing H-4 nonimmigrant status.
It is important to remember that the automatic extension is only valid for up to 180 days from the expiration date of your current work permit, during which time USCIS is in charge of approving or denying its renewal.
How long does it take to renew my work permit?
Work permit renewal time can range from 90 to 180 days from the date the application is filed, but it is necessary to take into account the status of the application and the number of applications being processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other factors.
In all cases, it is advisable to have the expiration date of your current work permit and submit your renewal application 120 to 150 days before it expires to avoid any interruption in your eligibility to work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to reactivate an expired work permit?
Reactivating an expired work permit is usually not possible. However, you may apply for a work permit renewal before its expiration date. It is crucial to contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or an immigration attorney to obtain personalized advice and avoid legal complications.
What are the consequences if an employer hires someone with an expired permit?
Hiring someone with an expired work permit can have serious consequences for the employer. These may include significant fines, administrative sanctions and, in serious cases, even criminal sanctions. In addition, the company may damage its reputation, and the worker may be penalized by a fine for working without a contract for the worker.
What to do if your work permit is about to expire?
If your work permit is about to expire, you must act quickly. The best option is to apply for an extension at least 120 days prior to the expiration date of the current EDA. This process can be complicated, so it is advisable to seek advice from an immigration attorney.