Skip to main content

How much assets do I need in order to qualify for a work permit?

Charlie writes, "I graduated from high school and then got a degree in Business Marketing. After I graduated in 2008, I started working odd jobs here and there and built my saving account to about $25K. In the USCIS Form I-765WS it states that they would only give EAD to only those who can show an economic necessity to work. So I am afraid to submit this information in the Asset section. What is the best solution for me? I know this will be the only time I will have the chance to get my EAD and DL, so please advise. When I submit my Bank Statement to show evidence for DACA it will show my assets too, so I don't want to risk myself by lying and getting caught either."

Reasonable amount of assets are not an issue:  For most reasonable people, as hard as it is to save $25,000, it isn't a whole lot of money.  If you think about it, since you are not eligible to finance your car, this is the amount you will need to buy a new car.  Or if you get really sick, and assuming that you do not have health insurance, just a few tests and a night in the hospital could run you thousands of dollars.  Or if you have to live by yourself and pay for everything, $25K may not even last a year once you factor in the cost of housing, food, transportation, etc.

Now, USCIS has not given any guidelines about how it will look at these numbers and if there is a cutoff, but it is fair to assume that if you had hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, then, it is a fair point to ask why you need to work while millions of Americans are unemployed.  Therefore, I would not worry about such a small amount.

USCIS is going to be reasonable if you have a story to tell:  I encourage you to report all the information accurately.  In the explanation section, you should provide a short statement how you have saved this money for a new car or for a medical procedure or just as a safety net for your family (these are just examples and please add your specific story that you can provide evidence for and substantiate if asked by USCIS).  You can add that if you get a work permit you will be able to spend some of this money knowing that you have a paycheck.  The only thing to watch out for is that since you have been working without authorization, this will raise a red flag.