F-1 Students: How to Apply for an International Organization Internship Work Permit

How foreign students can get permission to work for an international organization

If you are a foreign student in the U.S. and are offered employment with an international organization that qualifies under the “International Organization Immunities Act,” you may be eligible for a work permit (also called an employment authorization document or EAD card). As a practical matter, the qualifying organizations are usually located in Washington, DC. Ask your school’s DSO or career planning office for more information.

To apply, you’ll need to -prepare certain forms and documents, discussed below.

Application Forms for International Organization Internship Work Permit

To apply for a work permit based on an offer to intern with a qualifying international organization, you’ll need to prepare the following forms and submit them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Written certification from the international organization on the organization's letterhead that explains how the employment will be within the scope of the organization's sponsorship
  • Form I-20 ID, endorsed by your DSO within the last 30 days, and
  • USCIS Form I-765.

Line-by-Line Instructions for Form I-765

Form I-765 is the main application used by immigrants needing work permits. It looks like a long form when you print it out, but the bulk of the pages are instructions, which you don’t need to fill out or return to USCIS. When you get to Question 16, understand that your eligibility category depends on the basis for your work permit request. For an international organization internship application, your category is (c)(3)(ii).

Other Items for International Organization Internship Work Permit

To apply for a work permit based on an offer to -intern with an international organization, you’ll need to prepare the following items:

  • copy of the identification page and visa stamp from your passport,
  • copies of all your I-20 forms since you began your academic program in the United States,
  • copy of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure record (If you received a paper card, photocopy the front and back.)
  • two photos, passport-style. Print your full name in pencil on the back of the photos, and
  • the fee ($380 as of late 2012, but doublecheck this with your DSO or on the USCIS website). Pay by check or money order, payable to the US Department of Homeland Security. Do not send cash.

Mailing the Application and Receiving Your Work Permit

Once you’ve prepared all the application materials for your international organization work permit, mail it (preferably via courier or certified mail with a return receipt requested) to the USCIS office or Service Center listed in the instructions that come with Form I-765.

USCIS will send you a receipt notice within two to three weeks. The receipt notice will include a case number that will allow you to check its status online at www.uscis.gov.

If you are approved, USCIS will mail you a wallet-sized plastic work permit card with your photo on it. The card will indicate how many months you are allowed to work. You are not allowed to work until you receive this card.

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