A work permit, also known as a work visa, is an official document that shows that a person is allowed to work within a state for a particular period of time.
In the United States of America, the government issues two kinds of work permits. One is the permit that is issued to minors under the age of 18 by a state government, and the other is the permit given to immigrants that gives them the legal right to be employed within the country.
The State of Pennsylvania requires that minors have a work permit before they are allowed to get a job within the state, this also applies to foreigners.
In today’s article, we’ll be looking at how to get a work permit in Pennsylvania. But first, let’s get to know a bit more about the state of Pennsylvania.
The State of Pennsylvania | A Brief Overview
Pennsylvania is a state in the United States, located in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic regions of the country. Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state by area, and the 5th most populous state according to the most recent official U.S. Census count in 2010.
Pennsylvania has the sixth-largest economy in the U.S. If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 19th-largest in the world.
Most of Pennsylvania’s income is generated through sectors like agriculture, exportation, education, construction, technology, health, and many more.
These provide ample job opportunities for youths that want to start to earn a living early in life and foreigners who may want to settle down within the state.
Read Also: How to Get a Work Permit in Maine
How To Get A Work Permit In Pennsylvania (For Minors)
Like other states in the U.S, Pennsylvania makes it mandatory for minors to acquire work permits or employment certificates (as they are called in Pennsylvania) before they are allowed to gain any form of employment within the state.
The state of Pennsylvania issues various types of work visa, such as:
- General employment certificates (for minors aged 16-17, which allows them to work for a whole year)
- Vacation employment certificates (allows minors aged 14 and above to work anytime that is not school hours)
- Transferable work permits (allows those aged from 16 to 18 to work throughout the time that they are eligible)
These work permits have specific functions and are only valid within the State of Pennsylvania.
A minor living in Pennsylvania seeking any of these options should go through the following process:
The application to get this document is to be made by the parent or guardian of the minor for whom it would be issued. It is compulsory for the minor to appear with their parent or guardian on the date of application.
Following that, the minor and their parent or guardian will seek the employment certificate at a public-school district closest to them or preferably where the minor schools.
Public schools in Pennsylvania usually have at least one authorized issuing officer; it could be the principal or any school official who has been authorized. They can also apply for the permit from the district superintendent or the secretary of the board of school directors.
As a minor, you’re expected to bring along the following in other to get the work permit:
- A signed statement from the potential employer noting that they plan to hire the minor, explaining the work they will be responsible for, and the number of hours per day and per week the minor will work. The employer information is not required for the transferable work permit rather it is required for the general employment and vacation employment certificate
- Proof of physical fitness by a physician or certified nurse practitioner (Section D can be completed on the Application for Employment Certificate and Transferable Work Permit).
- Proof of age for the minor. Proof of age can be any one of the following: birth certificate, baptismal certificate, or passport.
- The signature and address of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of minor should be included within the submitted application.
The issuing official will verify the student’s identity, endorse the work permit, and issue a work permit to the minor. The minor signs it in front of the officer and take a copy of it to their employer.
Getting a Work Visa in Pennsylvania (For Foreigner)
The process of getting a U.S work permit in Pennsylvania is actually pretty straightforward if you are deemed eligible enough.
To actually apply you would have to fill a comprehensive form, which is called a USCIS Form I-765. You can download Form I-765 from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
After downloading, the next step is to read the entire form carefully then fill it out with the required information and submit the correct attached documents, photos, and fees. You can also call 1-800-870-3676 if you have any complications in filling the form.
When you are done filling, send it by mail to the USCIS Service Center that serves the area where you live in Pennsylvania. Sending it online is also another option if you don’t have a mailing address.
Your application will be processed and If your application is approved and you file a formal visa application in addition to your work permit, you will be interviewed at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country of residence as a foreigner.
You will need to pay an application and issuance fee, plus other additional documents.