Understanding the DACA Work Permit (EAD)

Updated on April 10, 2024

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides eligible individuals with temporary protection from deportation and the opportunity to obtain a work permit, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This work permit allows DACA recipients to work legally in the United States, opening up a wide range of employment opportunities. In this blog, we’ll explain what you need to know about EAD for DACA.

30 Second Recap:

The DACA work permit, or Employment Authorization Document (EAD), allows DACA recipients to work legally in the United States. To obtain a work permit, you must meet DACA eligibility criteria, file necessary forms, provide supporting documentation, and attend a biometrics appointment. A DACA work permit provides access to legal employment, a Social Security number, a driver’s license, and certain employer benefits. Work permits must be renewed every two years to maintain employment eligibility.

What is EAD for DACA?

EAD stands for Employment Authorization Document, which is a legal document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that grants the bearer the right to work in the U.S. For recipients of DACA, an EAD is part of the benefits they receive once approved for the program.

DACA is a policy that was established to provide temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to eligible undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. as children. Once approved for DACA, recipients are granted a period of deferred action (typically two years, subject to renewal) and can apply for an EAD by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the required fee or fee exemption request.

The EAD card, often referred to as a work permit, includes the recipient’s name, photo, and an expiration date, and it must be renewed concurrently with the DACA status. This document is crucial for DACA recipients as it enables them to obtain lawful employment, contribute to the economy, and support themselves and their families while living in the United States.

How to Get a DACA Work Permit

To obtain a DACA work permit, you must:

  1. Meet the eligibility criteria for DACA
  2. File Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  3. File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  4. Provide supporting documentation and pay the required fees
  5. Attend a biometrics appointment
  6. Wait for USCIS to process your application and issue your work permit

Renewing Your DACA Work Permit

DACA work permits are valid for two years. To maintain your work authorization, you must renew your DACA status and work permit before they expire. It is recommended to apply for renewal 120 to 150 days before your current work permit expires to avoid gaps in your employment eligibility.

Benefits of a DACA Work Permit

  1. Legal employment: With a DACA work permit, you can work legally in the United States, allowing you to pursue a wider range of job opportunities and build your career.
  2. Social Security number: Upon approval of your work permit, you can obtain a Social Security number, which is necessary for employment, credit applications, and other important transactions.
  3. Driver’s license: In most states, a DACA work permit allows you to obtain a driver’s license, providing greater mobility and independence.
  4. Access to certain benefits: Some employers offer benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, which may be accessible to you as a DACA recipient with a work permit.

Final Thoughts

The DACA work permit is a crucial aspect of the DACA program, allowing eligible individuals to work legally in the United States and access a range of benefits. By understanding the process of obtaining and renewing a DACA work permit, you can take full advantage of the opportunities it provides and build a more stable future for yourself and your family.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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