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If you are currently wondering how to get a job in the United States while being illegal, your immigration status needs to be regulated. In this article we will explain in detail everything you need to know about the subject.

Anything about undocumented immigrants looking for jobs in the US has become a sensitive topic for years. The reality is that there are several ways you can get a job in the US being illegal, although this is not what you should think about, but about legalizing your situation. Our immigration lawyers in New Jersey can help you process this employment documentation.

How You Can Get A Job In The United States In 2023 while Being Illegal

Having and job and therefore working in the United States without documentation is illegal. Anyone who works without a work permit would be exposing themselves to receiving a sanction which can range from fines to being deported from the country.

To get a job in the United States, foreign workers must first meet one of these requirements:

If foreigners have at least 1 of these 3 requirements, they will be able to work legally in the country.

Consequences Of Working Illegally In The USA For The Employee And The Employer

how can i work in the usa being undocumented

What happens if an illegal immigrant is employed? Not only are workers exposed to consequences for working illegally in the US, employers also risk being punished for breaking the law. 

Here are the consequences of working and having a job while being illegal in the United States:


Both workers without work permits and employers risk being fined a high amount of money. The number of fines increases for each infraction:

  • $ 375 to $ 2000 for the first offense.
  • $ 3,200 to $ 6,500 for a second offense for each illegal employee hired.
  • From $ 4,300 to $ 16,000 for each illegal employee hired in case the employer has more than 3 or more crimes.

Generally, for undocumented workers, an immigration bond can be posted to offset their fine and avoid further charges.

Employers who violate the law would also be subject to:

  • Fines that could be considered civil or criminal.
  • Government Contract Exclusions.
  • Court orders.


If you are an immigrant who has traveled to the United States with a visa and you make use of it for an unauthorized use, you could be deported from the country.

An example is traveling to the US with a tourist visa and arriving to work in the country. The tourist visa is only for tourism purposes and not to remain or work permanently in the country. If you do this, you could be deported from the United States. 

Visit our related article: “How long can we stay with a tourist visa? .” If you are facing deportation proceedings, you may be eligible for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility or cancellation of removal.

The 3 And 10 Year Bars

The 3 and 10 year unlawful presence bars prohibits immigrants from returning to the United States if they have been in the country illegally or have misused their type of visa. 

Generally, immigrants who work illegally in the United States using the wrong visa are exposed to an entry bar ban for up to 10 years.

Finding Work Knowing The Risks

Finding a job and working as an undocumented illegal immigrant in the United States can be complex, but not impossible. The reality is that your stay as an immigrant in the US won’t be that long if you can’t find a job. We have already described the risks and how vital it is to legalize your situation, but if you need to find a job, consider the following:

  1. Big cities: The first thing you should do is locate in a big city, perhaps it means moving to one or its surroundings. It is obvious that more people live in big cities, including more immigrants, and the opportunities to find work are greater.
  2. Visit small businesses: Even in this online world you can choose to visit small stores, factories or restaurants that are hiring. In many you will find a sign outside.

Other points to consider:

  • CV or Resume: This will be the first point to take into account. You need a professional resume and if you don’t have one, go to personal development centers. These can help you create and prepare your resume and CV and even help you find a job.
  • Work Experience: If you do not have previous work experience, of course, it complicates things, but you can find your first job as a kitchen assistant, washing dishes in a restaurant, as a gardener or as a salesperson. That is, first jobs in which you do not require a lot of experience.
  • English level: If you do not speak English fluently, the task of finding a job becomes complicated, although this is something that you should learn and more in order to legalize your situation. Going to the local library, going to your high school to attend classes or the simple fact of surrounding yourself with native English speakers will help you.   

Remember that even if sites like or allow you to find a job temporarily, legalizing your situation is key. Call the Latino law firm at Curbelo Law and tell us about your situation so we can help you.

What Are The Jobs That Immigrants usually Do?

Despite the fact that working in the United States without documents is illegal, the vast majority of immigrants continue to work in the United States while being undocumented. This is because there are companies that hire illegal workers.

The main reason companies hire illegal immigrants is because they will be able to pay them much lower salaries and rates than that of an American worker. Among the jobs most provided to illegal immigrants are:

  • Community gardening.
  • Sewing and tailoring.
  • Laundry services.
  • Personal care.
  • Sellers in various shops.
  • Home clean.
  • Car cleaning.
how to travel and work in the usa

Despite the fact that a permit is required by law to carry out such work, illegal immigrants and some companies continue to ignore the seriousness of the matter. No matter how small the job, it does require a work permit.

Who Needs A Work Permit In The United States?

All those employees who are not US citizens or residents who live in the country, must have a valid employment authorization document (EAD). 

However, being able to request the EAD will depend on your immigration status and on the type of U. S. visa you are eligible for. Here’s who will need a work permit in the US:

Temporary Workers

Immigrants who have some type of visa for temporary employment will be defined as temporary workers and will be under one of the following visas:

Permanent Workers

Unlike a temporary worker, permanent workers will be able to stay in the US indefinitely as long as they continue to work for the same company or organization. These will require a:


Students will be able to work while continuing their studies, as long as they have one:

Students holding a J-1 visa will require additional documents for employment processing. Note that:

  • If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will only be able to work in jobs that are not considered dangerous or hazardous to your health.
  • If you are 14 or 15 years old, you will only be able to work in jobs that are not considered dangerous and for a limited number of hours during the day.

Asylees And Refugees

Asylees and refugees can legally work in the U.S. through:

  • EAD permit once it is approved; 
  • If more than 150 days have passed and their case has not yet been decided.
asylum process in usa

In our dedicated section you can learn how to apply for the asylum process in the USA.


Immigrants under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be able to work legally as they may qualify for an EAD.


Individuals under the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be able to apply for an EAD and work legally even if they are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents.


Immigrants under the NACARA program will need to apply for an employment permit if they want to work legally in the country.

Home Or Personal Assistants

Foreigners who come to the United States accompanying a US citizen, permanent resident, or other foreigner may obtain an EAD if they meet the requirements for a B-1 visa.

Citizens Fiancées

Foreigners holding a K-1 fiancé(e) visa will be able to apply for an EAD permit. However, we recommend enlisting the help of our immigration attorney to advise you on your eligibility.

Immigrants With Pending Adjustment Of Status

Individuals who have a pending application for adjustment of status in the United States (pending a Green Card) will be able to apply for a work permit.

immigrants who have been victims of crimes

Foreign crime victims will be able to get an EAD permit if they apply for a T visa for victims of human trafficking and a U visa or a VAWA visa for other crimes.

How To Apply For An Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

To apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) you must know if you qualify for one. Later you will have to complete the following steps:

  • Submit the completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Pay $ 410 in filing fee.
  • Submit all the additional information that they request.
  • Go to the appointment for biometric data (fingerprints, photographs and signatures).
  • Wait for the final decision on your application.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding undocumented immigrants and work

Now that we have answered the question about how to get a job in the United States being illegal, it is time to check some frequently asked questions asked in our offices. Remember to take this only as general information since to respond to your case we must know your circumstances.

hire an illegal immigrant with itin number

How To Go To Work In The United States?

There are several ways to travel to the US for work purposes, including:

  • Be requested by an employer through an employment-based Green Card.
  • Apply for a merchant work visa.
  • Apply for an investor work visa.
  • Apply for a temporary agricultural or non-agricultural work visa.
  • With a student visa.
  • Being requested by a family member through a family petition to bring you to the United States and, subsequently, by having the Green Card, being able to work.

How To Get A Work Employment Visa For The United States?

To get a work visa in the USA, you must follow the following steps:

  1. Complete Form DS-160.
  2. Visit the UStraveldocs page.
  3. Pay the visa application fee.
  4. Schedule the appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin.
  5. Make an appointment with the Visa Application Center (VAC) to take fingerprints and photographs.
    1. Your appointment must be at least 1 day before your appointment with the US embassy or consulate.
  6. Bring the following documents to the appointment with VAC:
    1. Confirmation sheet of form DS-160.
    2. Valid passport.
    3. If the applicant is a minor and does not attend the appointment, bring a photograph.
  7. Bring the following documents to the US embassy or consulate:
    1. Valid passport.
    2. Appointment confirmation sheet.
    3. DS-160 confirmation sheet.
    4. Any documentation that supports the application for your type of visa.

Please note that the US embassy or consulate will not receive applications that are incomplete.

Can Undocumented Immigrants Get Work Permits?

Although it is considered illegal for undocumented immigrants to work without a permit, they may be able to obtain work permits. There are many ways to apply for one, so we recommend that you consult with our firm to evaluate your possibilities.

What Documents Are Needed To Hire New Employees?

Employers, in order to hire new workers, will need to submit the following documents:

These two documents are essential for an employer to be able to hire a worker in the United States. 

The I-9 form seeks to verify the identity and authorization of the employee. All employers in the US must fill out Form I-9 for every new person they hire. 

What Are The Other Consequences Of Hiring An Undocumented Person In The US?

American employers risk fines if they hire an undocumented worker. In addition to that, the following are also activities subject to sanctions:

  • Failing to meet the employment verification requirements on the I-9 form.
  • Using fraudulent or falsified documents.
  • Discriminate against a person authorized to work. 
  • Unfair dismissal. 
  • Failure to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of a Final Non-Confirmation (FNC) on a worker’s employment eligibility.

Can My Employer Fire Me If I Apply For DACA?

Employers are responsible for hiring only authorized workers. You do not need to discuss your DACA application or status with the employer. 

In case you suspect that your employer is discriminating against you or fires you because of your immigration status, that would be a violation of the National Immigration Law (INA).

Is It Legal To Hire Undocumented Immigrants Who Cannot Provide A Work Visa Or Social Security Number?

It is not legal to hire undocumented people who do not provide a work visa or Social Security Number (SSN). Unless you can prove that you are an American citizen or have a work permit.

How Do Illegal Immigrants Get Jobs Without A Social Security Number?

This depends on multiple factors. Undocumented immigrants can provide an illegally obtained, falsified, or invalid SSN.

Other people can get a job without actually filing documents because of recommendations from family or friends. However, this is still illegal so in none of the cases is it recommended to do it without having the EAD.

Can I Hire An Illegal Immigrant With An ITIN Number?

The ITIN is not for working purposes, these numbers are for federal tax purposes only. Obtaining an ITIN will not change your immigration status or give you the right to work in the United States.

How Can The Curbelo Law Firm Help Me If I Want To Work In The United States?

As we have seen previously, how to get a job in the United States while being illegal is a complex topic. American employers by law cannot hire foreign workers who do not have a work authorization in the United States.

If you are an undocumented foreign worker or employer, the best way to get a job in the US is to contact an experienced immigration attorney. They can help you in a number of ways:

  • Advise in the entire application process for the work authorization document (EAD).
  • Determine what type of visa or immigration status applies in your case to work in the United States.
  • Detail if you can change your status to another that allows you to work.
  • Explain everything about the options you would have to get a permanent residence (Green Card) if you wanted. 

These are some of the ways an attorney can help you. There are others that surely our professionals at the Curbelo Law firm will detail for you. You can call us or come to our office. The offices are located in Ridgewood and Newark, New Jersey but we can also assist you by phone or online.