To get a regular job, you will need
- a work permit from your school, and
- an immigration work permit (called an Employment Authorization Document) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for some jobs.
But you do not need a permit for informal, temporary jobs like babysitting, errands, or yard work.
If you are undocumented, you cannot legally work in the U.S..
To make sure you can legally work, your employer must look at your ID and immigration documents when you start a job. You will have to fill out a form saying you are a citizen, permanent resident, or have a DHS work permit.
If you are a Green Card holder or permanent resident and are 18 years old, you can legally work if you have papers that prove your identity and your ability to work in the United States. You will need a Green Card, or a work authorization from USCIS. If you are a DACA individual, you will already have a work permit.
- If you are 16 or 17, you can only work in jobs that are not considered to be hazardous or dangerous.
- If you are 14 or 15, you can only work in jobs that are not considered to be hazardous or dangerous and only for a limited amount of hours during the school day.
You can ask for a DHS work permit if you qualify to apply to become a permanent resident, or if you qualify to apply for some other immigration status.
Warning! These rules can be hard to understand. Ask an adult to help you.
Don’t rely on someone who promises to legalize your status. Only rely on a lawyer or community organization with a good reputation.
Warning! Do not apply for a DHS work permit if you are not eligible. You could be deported.