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Renewals of Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents (Work Permits)

Green Cards

After you become a lawful permanent resident, or green card holder, you will need to renew your green card every ten years. If you are a permanent resident and your green card is set to expire in six months or less, it is time to renew. Letting your green card expire can cause big problems. Your ability to work, travel outside the United States, and attend school can all be affected.

When the time comes to renew your green card, make sure you have done the following:

  • Started the renewal process at least six months before your green card’s expiration date;
  • Let your attorney know of any changes you’ve made like marriages, divorces, moving, or criminal convictions.

When it is time to renew you should consult with an attorney to make sure that your application is filed on time and correctly. Even small mistakes could be costly. If your green card has been lost, stolen, or damaged you can file an application for a replacement with the help of an immigration attorney. Call our office at (615) 475-7041 for a free consultation with our Nashville Immigration attorney.

Employment Authorization or EAD

You cannot work in the United States without explicit permission. In order to get permission to work, you will have to apply for an Employment Authorization Document or work permit. This permit gives you authorization to work in the United States and is a requirement to be hired by a vast majority of employers.

Some of the most common questions about work permits are:

How do I get a work permit in the United States?

To get a work permit you must first be eligible for one. There are many eligibility categories including K-1 fiance visa holders, people with a pending green card application, people with pending asylum claims, and so on. If you are eligible for a work permit, you will have to apply for one through USCIS.

Is it permanent?

No. Your permit will have to continuously renewed. When you get your permit, it will have an expiration date printed on it so you’ll know when it is time to renew.

Can I work before I get my permit?

You must submit your application before you start working. It is actually illegal for employers to hire employees who have not been granted permission to work. It is also important that you do not work without permission to do so because it could make it harder for you to apply for certain immigration benefits later.

Can I get a work permit if I am only going to be here for a short time?

Not usually. People who come to the United States as tourists or temporary visitors are generally not eligible for work permits. The same is true for someone who is undocumented.

After you have received this permit, you will be required to renew it every one to two years depending on your immigration status. There are some things to know before you start the process of renewing your work permit:

  • Start early. When your permit is issued, there will be an expiration date on the front of your card. You should contact your attorney to begin the renewal process four months (or 120 days) before it expires.
  • Your renewal application should be submitted well before your card’s expiration date so that you do not have a lapse in employment authorization.
  • Processing times for these applications have recently skyrocketed so it is likely that your current authorization will be extended, or you will need to request an interim card while your renewal application is pending.

Applying for a work permit can seem like a fairly simple process, but even simple mistakes can mean the difference between getting approved and denied for a renewal. Your ability to work is not something you should risk. Our office can help you keep up with the timeline to file your renewal application, make sure that all of the required supporting evidence is included, and give you the best chance of continued permission to work.