You need to prove that you are eligible to work in the United States because an employer has to verify your eligibility to be able to legally hire you. You need to prove your eligibility by providing documents that support your case. The employer has to verify these documents and complete form I-9 Employment Verification Document, to record his verification of your documents establishing your right to work in the United States.
Refugees have the advantage of their status. If you happen to have entered the United States as a refugee, then your refugee status allows you to seek and get employment. The I-94 Arrival-Departure Record that you would have received at the Port of Entry would have been stamped, ”Employment Authorized”. This means that the USCIS will issue you an Employment Authorization Document either at the Port of Entry or at the earliest instant after you enter the United States.
Using the I-94 and an official photo-identity document like a driver’s license or a valid passport, the refugee can apply for a Social Security Card. The Social Security card or the EAD can be used as a document to establish your eligibility to work.
If you are going to get a job before you receive the EAD or the Social Security card, you can use your I-94 as evidence of your eligibility. However, this document allows you eligibility to work only for 90 days. You are required to provide the other documentation within these 90 days to continue with your job.
How can a refugee get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
As a refugee, you need not apply for an Employment Authorization Document. The EAD will be issued to you once you enter the United States because an application for an EAD for you is already available with all the other documents that are a part of the refugee travel packet. The immigration officer at the Port of Entry takes this application and sends it for expeditious processing so that you get the EAD at the earliest. The agency that was responsible tor your re-settlement in the United States will deliver your EAD to you.
In case you entered the United States as an asylee or were granted asylee status in the United States, then your status will grant you eligibility to secure employment. Once the asylum office, an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals grants you asylum status, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document.
Using the I-94 and an official photo-identity document like a driver’s license or a valid passport, the asylee can apply for a Social Security Card. The Social Security card or the EAD can be used as a document to establish your eligibility to work.
How can an asylee get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
You may not need to have an EAD to prove your eligibility to work in the United States. You also need not apply for an EAD if your asylum status was granted by the USCIS, as the Asylum Office will automatically process an application for you.
However, things change slightly if you were granted asylum by an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). In this case, you will receive instructions guiding you on how you can make an application for an EAD, which you may receive separately or as a part of your BIA decision.
Per the instructions, you will have to go to the USCIS website and make an appointment through the Infopass system. You will then have to go to the local USCIS office for your EAD to be processed for you. The EAD will be mailed to you promptly.
If you do not wish to go to the local USCIS office in person, you can send in an application for the EAD by mail. You will also have to send the BIA decision or the Immigration Court order along with your application or take it with you to your appointment.
If you already received your EAD and you want to renew it, you need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.