If you are currently working in the United States and want to work for a US employer while your green card application is pending, then the answer is “yes” depending on whether or not you meet certain requirements.
Before you can begin working in the United States you will need to obtain a work permit, which is officially known as Employment Authorization Document, or sometimes referred to simply as an EAD. You can obtain an EAD by filing form I-765 with the USCIS if you fall into one of more than 40 different categories, such as adjustment of status or temporary protected status. These work permits are valid for both part-time and full-time employment. This is also the same form that you would fill out if you need to:
Lawful permanent residents, conditional permanent residents and U.S. citizens do not need work permits.
There are some circumstances in which you may not be eligible. If your visa is no longer valid then you would not be approved for EAD. You will need to speak to an immigration attorney about your specific situation.
You will be required to submit your Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization along with your green card application, otherwise known as a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. When your EAD is approved it will be sent to you so that you can work in the US while you are awaiting the approval of your green card. You can save money by applying for both at the same time since the $410 application fee is waived if the Form I-485 is submitted along with the Form I-765.
Eligibility for an EAD and other regulations regarding the employment of aliens are outlined in 8 C.F.R. §274a.12 titled “Classes of Aliens Authorized to Accept Employment.” Among those who are eligible to file a form I-765 are:
If your immigration to the United States was due to a humanitarian crisis in your home country, then you will have the right to work immediately without having to apply and wait for a work permit. You can visit a website to find out if this applies to you and your family.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, there have been significant delays in processing EADs. The current wait time is four to seven months. It is highly recommended that you apply right away and speak to an attorney immediately so you can get the process started.