DHS Authorization

DHS Authorization

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Last updated: April 1, 2024.

What does “With DHS Authorization” mean?

  • “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” notation on a Social Security card refers to the fact that the individual has received authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work in the U.S.
  • Such notation means that the individual must also present a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or other document verifying their employment authorization
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues Social Security Cards to individuals for various reasons, including employment authorization
  • If someone is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident but has permission to work in the country, they may receive a Social Security Card with “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” notation

What does DHS mean on SSN?

  • “DHS” refers to the Department of Homeland Security, a U.S. government agency responsible for issues related to citizenship, immigration and issuance of employment authorization documents to non-citizens
  • “With DHS authorization” means that the Social Security card holder is eligible for employment if a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or other verification documents are presented

The Social Security Administration (SSA) issue 3 types of Social Security cards:

  • Unrestricted 
  • Valid with DHS authorization
  • Not valid for employment
  • Lets you work without restriction
  • Issued to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Issued to noncitizens lawfully admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work
  • An additional document verifying employment authorization must be presented (for example:
    • Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-766
    • Valid I-94 
  • Issued to noncitizens who are:
    • Lawfully admitted to the U.S. without work authorization from DHS, but have a valid non-work reason for having a Social Security number; or
    • Need a SSN because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service

How do I remove valid for work only with DHS authorization on Social Security card?

To remove “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” on your Social Security card, you will need to obtain permanent residency, obtain refugee/asylee status, or U.S. citizenship.

Once you have obtained refugee/asylee, permanent resident or US citizenship status, you can request a Social Security card replacement.

A replaced Social Security card will not have the “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” limitation.

Can I open a bank account with SSN valid for work only with DHS authorization?

Yes, you can open a bank account with “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” Social Security card.

Do DHS authorization Social Security cards expire?

Social Security cards with “DHS authorization” notation do not expire per se. 

However, a restricted Social Security card holder will need to present additional documentation to prove their employment authorization (for example, unexpired EAD card). 

Also keep in mind that if you were issued a Social Security Number (SSN) with “DHS authorization”, that Social Security Number will stay the same if you obtain a green card or become a U.S. citizen.

What does DHS authorization look like?

Example of a Social Security card that has DHS authorization:

Valid for work only with DHS authorization

Types of DHS authorization

Employment authorization documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) include:

  • Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record issued to refugees, asylees or work-authorized nonimmigrants (for example, H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrants) because of their immigration status
  • Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Form I-551, Permanent resident card
  • Form I-797 issued to a conditional resident in combination with his or her expired Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card)

Where to get DHS authorization?

To obtain DHS (Department of Homeland Security) employment authorization, you typically need to follow these steps:

Step 1. Determine Eligibility:

  • Ensure that you are eligible to apply for employment authorization
  • Some categories of nonimmigrants are eligible for employment authorization incident to their status (for example, H-1B, L-1 visa holders) and do not need to apply for employment authorization
  • Some categories must obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) by filing Form I-765 with USCIS
Do not need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
*Employment authorization based on status
Need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Lawful permanent residents (LPR) – green cards valid for 10 years or 2 years F-1 students
Asylees Spouses of J-1 exchange visitors (J-2 nonimmigrants)
Spouses of U.S. citizens or children of such spouses (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrants) Pending Adjustment of Status applicants
Treaty traders (E-1 nonimmigrants) Fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens or children of such fiancé(e)s (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrants)
Treaty investors (E-2 nonimmigrants) Refugees
Spouses of principal E nonimmigrants Spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrants (H-4)
Temporary workers or trainees (H-1B, H-2, or H-3 nonimmigrants) Persons granted temporary protected status (TPS) or applicants with pending applications for TPS
Exchange visitors (J-1 nonimmigrants) Persons under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
Intra-company transferees (L-1 nonimmigrants) Students (M-1 nonimmigrants) seeking employment for practical training
Spouses of principal L-1 nonimmigrants Applicants for asylum
Aliens of extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1 nonimmigrants) Certain Afghan parolees and certain Ukrainian parolees
O-2 nonimmigrants Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners and derivative beneficiaries
Students (F-1 nonimmigrants) who are seeking:

  • On-campus employment;
  • Curricular practical training;
  • An EAD based on a STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension, and whose timely filed Form I-765 or successor form is pending and whose employment authorization and accompanying Form I-766 or successor form was issued based on post-completion OPT; or
  • H-1B nonimmigrant status and whose duration of status and employment authorization have been extended as provided in regulations
V nonimmigrants
Athletes, artists, or entertainers (P-1, P-2, or P-3 nonimmigrants) Noncitizens granted Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) resident status (employment authorization is limited to the CNMI)
International cultural exchange visitors (Q-1 nonimmigrants) Citizens of Palau
Religious workers (R-1 nonimmigrants) Parents or dependent children of persons granted LPR status based on being an employee of a recognized international organization (or such an employee’s family member)
TN nonimmigrants Persons granted voluntary departure under the Family Unity Program or granted Family Unity benefits
Temporary workers who filed a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) Most parolees
Nonimmigrant treaty alien in a specialty occupation” (E-3 nonimmigrants) Noncitizen spouses of an E-2 CNMI investor
Foreign government officials (A-1 or A-2 nonimmigrants), or employees of such official (A-3 nonimmigrants) Noncitizens granted deferred action
Foreign government officials in transit (C-2 or C-3 nonimmigrants) Registry applicants based on continuous residence since January 1, 1972
Representatives of an international organization (G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 nonimmigrants) and their personal employees (G-5 nonimmigrants) Applicants under a final order of deportation or removal, including deferral of removal under the Convention against Torture (CAT)
Representatives of foreign information media (I nonimmigrants) Principal beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140) facing compelling circumstances and their spouse or children.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) civilian employees and their personal employees Applicants for adjustment as a special agricultural worker
CNMI investors (E-2 nonimmigrants) Witnesses or informants and their qualified family members (S nonimmigrants)
CNMI transitional workers (CW-1 nonimmigrants) Applicants for legalization under INA 245A
Alien paroled as an entrepreneur for the period of authorized parole Applicants for adjustment under the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act
Citizens of Micronesia or the Marshall Islands Persons granted withholding of deportation or removal
Victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons (T-1 nonimmigrants) Applicants for cancellation of removal
Victims of qualifying criminal activity (U-1 nonimmigrants) and certain qualifying family members (U-2, U-3, U-4, and U-5 nonimmigrants) Spouses of entrepreneur parolees

Step 2. Fill out Form I-765:

  • If you are required to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS
  • Learn more: Form I-765 instructions

Step 3. Gather Supporting Documents:

  • Collect the necessary supporting documents, which may include proof of your eligibility category, identification documents, and any required fees

Step 4. Submit the Application:

  • Mail the completed application, supporting documents, and the required fee to the appropriate USCIS Form I-765 filing address
  • Make sure to check the USCIS website for the correct address and any additional instructions

Step 5. Wait for Processing:

  • USCIS will process your application, and you will be notified of the decision
  • Processing times can vary, so check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information

Step 6. Receive EAD:

  • If your application is approved, you will receive your EAD, which will include the dates during which you are authorized to work in the U.S.

Learn More:

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Form I-765 Instructions, How to Apply for EAD