Why was my Work Permit Application Denied by the USCIS?

Your I-765 application could be denied for many reasons. Keep in mind that being denied doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t eligible to work in the United States, but rather that your documentation is not consistent or is missing critical information.

Your I-765 application, available on the USCIS website, is your ticket to receiving a work permit and being able to legally work in the United States. In order to receive working authorization, the USCIS will adjudicate your application and either decide that you are fit to work in the United States, or will deny your application because it is either incomplete or you have some type of eligibility problem.

As such, this blog will be dedicated to better understanding why a work permit application might be denied, going into some of the details of the I-765 form, as well as how to problem solve if you do end up getting a denial letter from the USCIS. In either case, we do advise immigrants to not work in the U.S. unless they have proper working authorization as this could lead to further immigration-related issues further down the road. 

Application Errors

Firstly, we have to acknowledge that some applicants might be perfectly eligible for a work permit in the United States but have messed up somewhere on their I-765 application. One of the most common mistakes on the application happens in Part 2 when applicants are supposed to write in what category they are filing under. The category is a letter followed by a single or double-digit number such as “c8”. Applicants won’t be able to find this number unless they navigate to the appropriate USCIS page that lists all of the respective codes.

Here are some respective codes that applicants should be aware of:

A3- Refugee status

A4- Paroled as a refugee

A6- K-1 non-immigrant fiancé of a U.S. citizen or a K-2 child applying for a work permit

A10- Granted withholding of deportation or removal

C1- Dependent of a foreign government official working in the U.S.

C3- F1 student seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship

For a complete list of all of the codes listed by the USCIS, please see the following link: https://save.uscis.gov/web/media/resourcesContents/EAD_Code_Table.pdf


If you’ve put in the right code on your I-765 application, then the issue isn’t your existing status in the United States, but likely something else on your record that has caused the USCIS to reject your application. In this case, it could be a simple misdemeanor on your record. Misdemeanors include the possession of marijuana in some parts of the United States that are still more conservative and haven’t recognized recreational usage of the drug. Misdemeanors also include shoplifting, trespassing on private property, or being publicly intoxicated. The word misdemeanor literally translates to minor wrongdoing.

If you have a misdemeanor on your record, it will show up in almost any background check, which is part of the standard procedure for getting a work permit. The easiest way to get around this is by hiring a lawyer, doing community service (usually for a 6-12 week period), and eventually getting the misdemeanor expunged from your record. 

Entry/Exit Record

If you recently left the United States to return to your home country to visit close family members, you need to put this information into your I-765 application. Some applicants will put the date they first entered the U.S., when they were originally granted a visa or were admitted first into the country. This will lead to a denial of one's work permit application as the USCIS has inconsistent information based on your recent travel date.

Employers Name as Listed on E-Verify

Finally, another less common, but possible issue that can lead the USCIS to deny one's work permit application has to do with putting the company’s name that you work for as listed by E-Verify. E-verify is an official website of the U.S. government that gives businesses a company ID number. The ID number that you put into your I-765 application has to match that of the employer’s listing on E-verify. If you leave this question blank or enter a different name for a company, then the USCIS will be confused as to where you are currently working in the U.S. or if you are still with the same employer.


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