How Long Does a Work Permit Last in the U.S.?

As a foreign national, you want to work in the United States and take advantage of the numerous job opportunities. Luckily, the U.S. does welcome foreign workers, and there are visas available for employment purposes. However, your visa does not last forever. Therefore, if you plan to work and eventually naturalize, you will need a work permit and understand how long they last and what to do when your expiration date nears.

Type of Permit Matters for Expiration Dates

Your job permit’s length of validity depends on your immigration status and the type of visa used to get employment in the United States. Most Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) are applicable for one year, and it is rare for a permit to last beyond 12 months.

Understanding the Qualifications of a Work Permit

To work in the United States, you must meet requirements for the work permit status. First, you must have a visa or immigration status that allows you to gain employment in the country.

Examples of Qualified Workers

  • Applicants with a pending I-485
  • Refugees who were given asylum
  • Those under temporary protected status
  • VAWA self-petitioners
  • F-1 students
  • J-2 spouses
  • M-1 students
  • K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé

Applying for Your Work Permit

To request a work permit, you must complete USCIS Form 1-765.

The form is highly complex and determines your eligibility for a work permit.  Therefore, it is best to have an immigration attorney help you with this form.

Renewing the EAD

After you have been accepted and provided with your EAD, you can renew the EAD. However, there is a strict 180-day requirement. So, if you feel you are eligible for renewal, but your EAD is expiring, you must complete the renewal form within 180 days before the expiration. You cannot apply more than 180 days out, so you must apply 180 days and up to the expiration date. The closer to your expiry date, however, the more likely you are to be denied or have to leave the country.

Once your card expires, you could be arrested, lose your job, and be deported. Also, your employer faces the consequences of failing to check your expiration date. Ideally, you should apply for your renewal in a three to six-month window, which increases the likelihood you are approved before expiration.

For assistance with the EAD process, speak with an immigration lawyer from Udall Shumway, PLC now at 480.461.5300 or ask for a consult online.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding A Work Permit, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.