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Work Authorization

*** It is illegal to work in the US without work authorization, and doing so can be devastating to an asylum case. ***

Applying for your first work authorization


  1. Submit your asylum application (guidance here)
  2. Wait five months (150 days)
  3. Submit work permit application. Complete one application for each person applying.
  4. Work permit should arrive in 4-6 weeks, social security cards will follow

Most asylum seekers choose to apply for work permits for their children, in order to get them social security cards.

As you approach 150 days, things to do to prepare

  1. Join the ASAP organization (no cost). ASAP Members are allowed to apply for their first work permit after 150 days for free. Apply for membership here:
  2. Make sure each applicant has a government-issued photo ID (can be expired, can be from foreign government, a photo or copy of the ID is usable if you don’t have the original). If you don’t have one, contact WTS for advice.
  3. Get two passport photos for each applicant
  4. Contact Hope Acts to make an appointment if you would like assistance with the work permit application, which can be found here.

The first work permit application is free

Renewing a work authorization

Work permits are good for two years. Adults should begin planning to renew their work permit 6 months before it expires. The cost for renewal is $495 for each applicant.

Children do not need to renew their work permits until they are old enough to work.

The application is here. You can get an appointment at Hope Acts to assist with the application or review an already-completed application.