TN 16 (06-11)

RM 10211.420 Employment Authorization for Non-immigrants

A. Policy for non-immigrant employment authorization

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines whether a non-immigrant in the U.S.

  • may be employed;

  • may be self-employed; or

  • may not work.

Some non-immigrants have employment authorization by virtue of their DHS-assigned class of admission (COA or alien classification) while other non-immigrants may have employment authorization but only with specific employers. See RM 10211.420G.1. in this section.

Some non-immigrants must apply to DHS for employment authorization. See RM 10211.420G.2. in this section.

Some non-immigrants may not work and cannot apply for employment authorization. See RM 10211.420G.3. in this section.

It is important to distinguish non-immigrants with employment authorization from non-immigrants without employment authorization and know what document(s) establish employment authorization.

DO NOT process an employment authorized Social Security number (SSN) application for a non-immigrant unless the alien submits the appropriate evidence authorizing employment.

IMPORTANT: Since a non-immigrant’s status can change, the most recently issued DHS document supersedes all previously issued DHS documents, for enumeration purposes. See RM 10211.510.

EXAMPLE: An alien with an I-94 that does not allow for work applies to DHS for a different status. DHS approves the new status and issues the alien an Employment Authorization Document (EAD, I-766). The alien applies for an SSN card and submits both the I-94 and the new EAD. Neither document is expired. Since the EAD is the more recently issued evidence, the EAD is the alien’s current lawful alien status document. Do not consider the I-94 in making the lawful alien status or employment authorization decision or for verifying the alien’s status.

See Also:

B. Evidence proving a non-immigrant’s employment authorization

The following documents are acceptable documents for evidence of employment authorization for a non-immigrant under certain criteria.

For exhibits of these documents, see the Administrative Confidential Memorandum (ACM ).

1. Arrival/Departure Record, Form I-94

Admission Stamp on Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or in Unexpired Foreign Passport.

The admission stamp shows one of the following:

  • A COA that has employment authorization inherent to that class. This means, based on the COA, the person can work without additional specific DHS authorization. See RM 10211.420G in this section.

  • A stamp or annotation that DHS admitted the alien as a refugee. See RM 10211.185.

  • A stamp or annotation that DHS granted the alien asylum. See RM 10211.207.

For additional information on evidence of nonimmigrant status, see RM 10211.135.

2. Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-766

The EAD card provides evidence of a non-immigrant’s authorization to accept temporary employment in the U.S.

DHS issues EADs to certain non-immigrants, regardless of age, to whom DHS grants temporary employment authorization. DHS does not issue EADs to the following:

  • Non-immigrants whose employment authorization is inherent to their COA.

  • Immigrants granted lawful permanent residence.

The front of the EAD generally displays the:

  • alien’s photograph,

  • alien’s fingerprint or “W” (stands for waived, when a fingerprint is unavailable),

  • alien’s signature,

  • alien’s biographic information (i.e., name, date of birth),

  • category allowing the alien to work,

  • employment authorization validity period (the length of employment that is consistent with regulatory limits on the time elements involved and a definite date as to when employment may begin and end),

  • terms and conditions (consistent with regulatory limits on the type of employment authorized), and

  • date and place of issue.

3. Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status, Form I-20

The Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status form shows a designated school official's annotation that documents certain F-1 student’s on-campus work in addition to evidence of employment status. See RM 10211.240.

4. Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, Form DS-2019

An exchange visitor will submit one of the following:

  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status showing an employment-authorized category of J-1. See RM 10211.345A; or

  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status showing a J-1 category of “student,” “student intern” or “international visitor” and a sponsor’s letter authorizing employment. See RM 10211.345B.

See Also:

RM 10211.365, instructions on entering DS-2019 status into SSNAP.

5. Order from an Immigration Judge

An Order from an Immigration Judge issued by the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) may provide evidence of asylum granted status. See RM 10211.205B.3.

See Also:

RM 10210.210, instructions for reviewing evidence.

C. Validity period

The validity period, shown on the face of the document (e.g., EAD or I-20), defines the dates the non-immigrant may work in the U.S.

A document showing a future validity period is not acceptable evidence of current employment authorization. Do not process the SSN application until the applicant submits the employment authorization required for the SSN card. EXCEPTION: I-20 for F-1 students. See RM 10211.245B.

D. Automatic EAD extension

An automatic EAD extension is the period beyond the EAD expiration date when certain non-immigrants are eligible to remain in the U.S. and may continue to work if they continue to meet certain terms and conditions. An automatic EAD extension may occur under the following conditions:

  • DHS grant or extension of a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to certain nationals of a particular country for a temporary period; or

  • A Presidential executive order or memorandum granting a Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) from the U.S. to certain nationals of a particular country for a temporary period.

Generally, an automatic EAD extension is six months and provides the alien time to register with DHS and time for DHS to issue new EAD cards to the eligible aliens. An EAD subject to the automatic EAD extension serves as evidence of current employment authorization.

When an alien files for an SSN card 14 days or less from the start of the extended expiration date, separate processing applies. See RM 10211.420F in this section.

IMPORTANT: When a TPD or DED designation or extension does not include an automatic EAD extension, no special SSN application instructions apply.

See Also:

E. Non-immigrants with automatic EAD extensions

The following table lists the most recent automatic EAD extension information available:

NOTE: If a non-immigrant’s automatic EAD extension is in the past or expires within 14 days, follow RM 10211.420F.3. in this section.

Automatic EAD Extension Chart

Non-immigrant’s Country of Nationality

Non-immigrant’s EAD Extension Specifics

El Salvador

Automatic EAD extension through March 9, 2014 to Salvadorian non-immigrants whose EADs show:

  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: September 9, 2013.

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also: DHS’ April 30, 2013 Federal Register notice announcing El Salvador’s EAD extension.

Haiti

Automatic EAD extension through July 22, 2013 to Haitian non-immigrants whose EADs show:

  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: January 22, 2013.

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also: DHS' October 1, 2012 Federal Register notice announcing Haiti's EAD extension.

Honduras and Nicaragua

Automatic EAD extension through January 5, 2014 to Honduran or Nicaraguan non-immigrants whose EADs show:

  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: July 5, 2013

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also:

Liberia

Automatic EAD extension through September 30, 2013, to Liberian non-immigrants whose EADs show:

  • Category: A-11

  • Expires: March 31, 2013.

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also:

DHS’ March 21, 2013 Federal Register notice announcing the Liberia automatic EAD extension.

Somalia

Automatic EAD extension through March 17, 2010, to Somali non-immigrants whose EADs show:

  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: September 17, 2009.

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also: DHS’ July 27, 2009 Federal Register notice announcing Somalia EAD extension.

South SudanAutomatic EAD extension through May 2, 2012, to South Sudanese (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in the region that is now South Sudan) whose EADs show:
  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: November 2, 2011

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also: DHS’ October 13, 2011 Federal Register notice announcing South Sudan’s TPS designation and EAD extension.

NOTE: This is unique because on July 9, 2011, South Sudan became a new nation and independent from Sudan.

SudanAutomatic EAD extension through May 2, 2012, to Sudanese whose EADs show:
  • Category: A-12 or C-19

  • Expires: November 2, 2011

See RM 10211.420F in this section for instructions on processing SSN applications for applicants falling into this category.

See Also: DHS’ October 13, 2011 Federal Register notice announcing Sudan’s EAD extension.

Additional non-immigrants may, have a TPS designation that does not include an automatic EAD extension. When there is no automatic EAD extension, no special SSN application instructions apply and we do not include them in this table.

The Department of Justice’s, Virtual Law Library, TPS webpage lists which countries’ nationals have TPS or DED designation and provides links to the Federal Register notices documenting those designations and EAD extensions.

F. Procedure when an SSN applicant submits an EAD based on an automatic EAD Extension

Follow this procedure only when an SSN applicant matching the criteria in RM 10211.420E in this section submits an EAD as evidence of lawful alien status.

1. The EAD expired or will expire within 14 calendar days

If an applicant submits an expired EAD or an EAD that expires within 14 calendar days from the extended expiration date, do the following:

  • Find the applicant’s “Automatic EAD extension through” date shown in RM 10211.420E in this section.

  • Enter the “Automatic EAD extension through” date in the EXPIRES field on SSNAP’s Proof of Legal Alien Status screen.

    EXAMPLE: On 07/02/2010, a Honduran national files for a replacement SSN card and submits an EAD showing A-12 and a 07/05/2010 expiration date. Since RM 10211.420E in this section shows that this group of SSN applicants’ EADs were automatically extended through 01/05/2011, the employee enters 01/05/2011 for the EAD’s EXPIRES date.

  • Verify the alien’s status following existing procedures. See RM 10213.085 and RM 10213.095.

2. The EAD expires more than 14 days in the future

If an applicant submits an EAD that expires more than 14 calendar days in the future, no special instructions apply. Follow existing procedures.

3. The EAD expired and the automatic EAD extension validity period has expired or expires within 14 calendar days

If an applicant submits an expired EAD and the automatic EAD extension has expired or will expire within 14 calendar days, follow RM 10213.300 and advise the applicant to return when he or she receives the new EAD.

G. Policy for employment authorization by Class of Admission (COA)

The following policies apply to employment authorization by COA:

1. Aliens employment-authorized without specific DHS authorization

The following chart lists, by COA code, non-immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. without specific authorization from DHS. The alien’s I-94 showing one of the following COAs has employment authorization unless otherwise noted. The I-94 will not have the DHS employment authorization stamp and the alien will generally not have an EAD.

The visa of the principal alien generally shows the basis for the visa, e.g., “treaty trader” or an employer’s name, while the visa of a spouse or child may show an annotation that the person is a “dependent of the p.a.” (p.a. means principal alien).

For COAs displaying an asterisk (*), the principal alien, spouse, and child all have the same classification code.

In some instances, the husband and wife are principal aliens when the classification is E-1 and E-2.

When all family members have the same COA, ask the SSN applicant if he or she is the family member who is the principal alien, spouse, or the child of the principal alien.

For COAs displaying a double asterisk (**) (non-immigrant E-1, E-2, and L-2 classifications), the spouse is also authorized to work without specific DHS authorization.

When the E-1, E-2, or L-2 spouse applies for an SSN card and does not submit an EAD as evidence of employment authorization, he or she must submit, in addition to evidence of lawful alien status, evidence of a marital relationship to the principal E-1, E-2, or L-1 alien. The evidence of marital relationship between the applicant and the principal E-1, E-2, or L-1 alien is a marriage document. The marriage document must indicate the marriage occurred, either: 1) prior to admission to the U.S. as an E-1, E-2, or L-2 non-immigrant; or, 2) prior to extension or change of status to an E-1, E-2 or L-2 non-immigrant.

NOTE: Although aliens listed under a COA in this section are employment authorized without specific DHS authorization, employers may still ask for an EAD before the alien can start working.

Class of Admission

Description

A-1*

Ambassador, public minister, career diplomat, or consular officer (principal).

A-2*

Other foreign government official or employee (principal).

A-3*

Attendant, servant, or personal employee of principal A-1, or A-2 (principal).

CW1

Transitional worker (principal).

NOTE: Valid Only in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). See RM 10210.684B.

E-1*

Treaty trader (principal).

E-1**

Spouse of principal E-1.

The alien must submit either:

  • an EAD (Form I-766) showing “A-17” under Category; or

  • evidence other than an EAD that proves the E-1’s lawful alien status (e.g., I-94) and a marriage document as evidence that he or she is the spouse of the principal E-1 alien.

E-2*

Treaty investor (principal)

E-2**

Spouse of principal E-2.

The alien must submit either:

  • an EAD (Form I-766) showing “A-17” under Category; or

  • evidence other than an EAD that proves the E-2’s lawful alien status (e.g., I-94) and a marriage document as evidence that he or she is spouse of the principal E-2 alien.

E2C

Long-term business investor or foreign investor (principal).

NOTE: Valid Only in the CNMI. See RM 10210.676C.

E-3*

Certain specialty occupation professionals from Australia.

E-3R

Returning E-3 principal alien.

F-1

Academic student for on-campus employment and DSO-authorized curricular practical training. See RM 10211.240.

F-3

Canadian or Mexican national academic student who commutes to school in the U.S. DSO-authorized for DSO authorized curricular practical training. See RM 10211.270.

G-1*

Resident representative of recognized foreign member government to an international organization (principal).

G-2*

Other temporary representative of recognized foreign member government to an international organization (principal).

G-3*

Representative of unrecognized or nonmember foreign government to an international organization (principal).

G-4*

Representative of international organization (officer or employee) (principal).

G-5*

Attendant, servant, or personal employee of principal G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4.

H-1B

Worker in a specialty occupation.

H-1B1

Temporary worker in a specialty occupation.

H-2A

Agricultural worker.

H-2B

Non-agrarian seasonal worker.

H-3

Trainee.

I*

Foreign information media representative (principal).

J-1

Exchange visitor (pursuant to an approved program). See RM 10211.340. An exchange visitor whose DS-2019 shows the category as “student,” “student intern,” or “international visitor” in item 4 of the form must provide a letter from the program sponsor as evidence of authority to work. Otherwise, presume the employment authorization is part of the J-1’s exchange program.

K-1

Fiancé(e) of U.S. citizen.

L-1

Intra-company transferee.

L-1A

Intra-company Transferee Managers and Executives.

L-1B

Intra-company Transferee Specialized Knowledge.

L-2**

Spouse of an intra-company transferee.

The alien must submit either:

  • an EAD (Form I-766) showing “A-18” under Category; or

  • evidence other than an EAD that proves the L-2’s lawful alien status (e.g., I-94) and a marriage document as evidence that he or she is the spouse of the principal L-1 alien.

NATO-1 through 6*

NATO officer, representative, or personnel (principal).

NATO-7*

Attendant, servant, or personal employee of principal NATO-1 through 6 (principal).

O-1

Alien with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

O-2

Alien accompanying O-1.

P-1

Internationally recognized athlete or entertainer in an internationally recognized group.

P-2

Artist or entertainer in an exchange program.

P-3

Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program.

Q-1

Cultural exchange visitor.

Q-2

Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Visitor.

R-1

Religious worker with a nonprofit religious organization.

TC

Professional business person, United States-Canada Free Trade Act (FTA).

TN

Professional business person from Canada or Mexico, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

TN-1

Professional business person from Canada, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

TN-2

Professional business person from Mexico, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Refugee

Alien admitted pursuant to section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The I-766 shows “A-3” under Category.

Asylee

Asylee under 208 of the INA.

The I-766 shows “A-5” under Category.

2. Aliens Who Require an EAD from DHS Authorizing Employment

The following chart lists, by COA code, non-immigrants authorized to work only with authorization from DHS. These aliens must submit an EAD.

For COAs displaying an asterisk (*), the principal alien, spouse, and child all have the same classification code. The visa of the dependent may show the name of the principal.

EXCEPTIONS:

  • refugee or asylee employment authorization may be shown on the I-94;

  • F-1 employment authorization for curricular practical training (CPT) may be shown on page 3 of an I-20;

  • J-1 employment authorization when the DS-2019 category is “student,” “student intern,” or “international visitor” may be shown on a sponsor's letter.

Class of Admission

Description

A-1*, A-2*

Spouse or child of principal A-1, A-2 alien.

The I-766 shows “C-1” under Category.

B-1

Visitor for business who is:

  • a personal or domestic servant accompanying or following an employer admitted to the U.S. as a non-immigrant.

  • a domestic servant accompanying or following a U.S. citizen employer (the employer has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country and is temporarily in the U.S.).

  • an employee of a foreign airline and the employee is not a national of the country of the airline's nationality.

The I-766 shows “C-17” under Category.

NOTE: The instructions in RM 10211.420G.3. in this section apply if the B-1 alien is not authorized to work under one of the above situations.

E2C

Spouse of principal E2C long-term business investor or foreign investor. See RM 10210.676C.

E-3*, E-3D

Spouse of principal a specialty occupation professional from Australia.

F-1

Academic student for employment in authorized optional practical training (provision of law: optional practical training – 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(3)(i); employment with an international organization – 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(3)(ii); economic hardship – 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(3)(iii)).

The I-766 shows “C-3” under Category.

See RM 10211.240 for employment authorization documentation required for F-1s employed on campus or in curricular practical training (an EAD is not required for these types of employment).

F-3

Canadian or Mexican national academic student who commutes to school in the U.S.– for employment in optional practical training.

The I-766 shows “C-3” under Category.

G-1*, G-3*, G-4*

Spouse or child of G-1, G-3 or G-4 alien.

The I-766 shows “C-4” under Category.

J-2

Spouse or minor child of J-1 alien.

The I-766 shows “C-5” under Category.

K-2

Child of K-1.

The I-766 shows “A-6” under Category.

K-3

Spouse of U.S. Citizen.

The I-766 shows “A-9” under Category.

K-4

Child of K-3.

The I-766 shows “A-9” under Category.

M-1

Nonacademic student - for practical training.

The I-766 shows “C-6” under Category.

M-3

Canadian or Mexican national non-academic commuter student for practical training.

The I-766 shows “C-6” under Category.

NATO – 1* through 7*

Spouse or child of principal NATO - 1 through 7 alien.

The I-766 shows “C-7” under Category.

N-8

Parent of alien granted permanent residence.

The I-766 shows “A-7” under Category.

N-9

Child of alien granted permanent residence.

The I-766 shows “A-7” under Category.

S-5

Alien supplying critical information relating to a criminal organization or enterprise.

The I-766 shows “C-21” under Category.

S-6

Alien supplying critical information relating to a counter terrorism matter.

The I-766 shows “C-21” under Category.

S-7

Spouse or child of S-5 or S-6 alien.

The I-766 shows “C-21” under Category.

T-1

Victim of severe form of trafficking.

The I-766 shows “A-16” under Category.

T-2

Spouse of victim of severe form of trafficking.

The I-766 shows “C-25” under Category.

T-3

Child of victim of severe form of trafficking.

The I-766 shows “C-25” under Category.

T-4

Parent of victim of severe form of trafficking.

The I-766 shows “C-25” under Category.

T-5

Sibling of victim of a severe form of trafficking.

U-1

Victim of Certain Criminal Activity.

The I-766 shows “A-19” under Category.

U-2

Spouse of U-1.

The I-766 shows “A-20” under Category.

U-3

Child of U-1.

The I-766 shows “A-20” under Category.

U-4

Parent of U-1, if U-1 is under 21 years of age.

The I-766 shows “A-20” under Category.

U-5

Sibling of U-1. if U-1 is unmarried and under 18 years of age. The I-766 shows “A-20” under Category.

V-1

Spouse of a permanent resident.

The I-766 shows “A-15” under Category.

V-2

Child of a permanent resident.

The I-766 shows “A-15” under Category.

V-3

Parent of a permanent resident.

The I-766 shows “A-15” under Category.

Parolee

Alien paroled temporarily into the U.S.

The I-766 shows “A-4” or “C-11” under Category.

Adjustment applicant

  • Applicant for adjustment to permanent resident alien under section 245 of immigration and nationality act (INA).

    The I-766 shows “C-9” under Category.

  • Applicant for creation of a record of lawful admission for permanent residence pursuant to section 249 of the INA.

    The I-766 shows “C-16” under Category.

Family Unity Program Alien

Alien granted voluntary departure under the Family Unity Program.

The I-766 shows “A-13” under Category.

Temporary Protected Status alien

  • Alien granted Temporary Protected Status pursuant to section 244A of the INA.

    The I-766 shows “A-12” under Category.

  • Applicant for Temporary Protected Status pursuant to section 244A of the INA.

    The I-766 shows “C-19” under Category.

NOTE: Also see RM 10211.420E in this section.

Deportable Alien

  • Alien granted withholding of deportation pursuant to section 243(h) of INA.

The I-766 shows “A-10” under Category.

  • Alien granted extended voluntary departure.

The I-766 shows “A-11” under Category.

  • Applicant for suspension of deportation pursuant to section 244 of the INA.

The I-766 shows “A-10” under Category.

  • Alien granted voluntary departure.

The I-766 shows “C-12” under Category.

  • Alien granted deferred action.

The I-766 shows “C-14” under Category.

  • Alien for whom there is a final order of deportation and who is released on an order of supervision (Form 1-220B) pursuant to section 242(d) of the INA.

The I-766 shows “C-18” under Category.

Asylum applicant

  • Alien with an asylum application pending.

The I-766 shows "C-8" under Category.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Alien granted deferred action pursuant to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.

  • The I-766 shows “C33” under Category.

3. Aliens Who Are Not Authorized To Work In The U.S.

The following chart lists, by COA code, temporary non-immigrants not authorized to work in the U.S.:

Class of Admission

Description

A-3

Spouse or child of principal A-3 alien.

B-1

Visitor for business. If the B-1 alien alleges employment as a personal, domestic servant, or employee of a foreign airline, follow RM 10211.420G.2. in this section.

B-2

Visitor for pleasure.

BE

Bering Strait Agreement visa-free visitor for pleasure to certain designated areas of Alaska.

C-1

Alien in transit through the U.S.

C-2, C-3

Foreign Government Official In Transit and dependents.

C-3

Attendant, servant, other personal employee, spouse or child of principal C-3 alien.

CW2

Spouse or child of principal CW1 alien.

NOTE: Valid Only in the CNMI. See RM 10210.684C.

D-1, D-2

Crew member.

E-1

  • Child of principal E-1 alien.

  • Child of principal E-1 alien who is an employee of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs and the child does not have an EAD.

E-2

Child of principal E-2 alien.

E2C

Spouse of principal E2C foreign investor or child of principal E2C.

NOTE: Valid Only in the CNMI. See RM 10210.676C.

E-3, E–3D

Child of principal E-3 alien.

F-2

Spouse or child of F-1 alien.

G-2, G-5

Spouse or child of principal G-2 or G-5 alien.

H-4

Spouse or child of H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 alien.

I

Spouse or child of principal I alien.

L-2

Child of L-1 alien.

M-2

Spouse or child of M-1 alien.

M-3

Canadian or Mexican national commuter vocational or non-academic student. However, see RM 10211.240G.2. in this section if the M-3 alien has an EAD for optional practical training, which is the only type of work that an M-3 may be authorized to perform by DHS.

O-3

Spouse or child of O-1 or O-2 alien.

P-4

Spouse or child of P-1, P-2, or P-3 alien.

Q-3

Spouse or child of Q-2.

R-2

Spouse or child of R-1 alien.

TD

Spouse or child of TN alien.

WB

Visitor for business from a visa waiver country.

WT

Tourist from a visa waiver country.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0110211420
RM 10211.420 - Employment Authorization for Non-immigrants - 10/17/2013
Batch run: 10/17/2013
Rev:10/17/2013