Sep 24, 2023 Business

Work Permits vs. Visas: What You Need to Work Abroad Legally

Working abroad is a great opportunity for employees to develop their skills and gain new experiences. It is important to know if a work permit or visa is needed is essential to avoid any legal complications.

An endorsement added to your passport, which permits you to travel and within a particular country. Work permits, in contrast, will be an Employment Authorization Document that demonstrates the ability to legally work in another country.


In the case of working in another country, understanding the complicated legal regulations can be difficult. In order to make the process easier, it is important to be aware of the differentiators between work visas and work permits.

The visa permits an individual to travel into a country with particular reasons like tourist, business, or study. On the other hand, an EAD or work permit (Employment Authorization Document) is granted to permit an international worker to legally carry out work for a specific employer.

Work permits and visas have different terms and conditions that vary depending on the country. A work visa is valid for a certain period of time, while a work permit is able to be renewed if needed. Some work visas also have limitations on how often the individual is able to switch job positions, which is frustrating for a career seeker seeking to change employers.


The Work Permits and Visas are subject to various specifications that are different for each country. The criteria for eligibility is based on the kind of job being performed and the length of time the permit or visa and any additional legal requirements, such as academic qualifications.

It’s crucial to confirm the required visa or work permit requirements before applying, as in the event of a non-compliance with these guidelines can result in the rejection of your application by USCIS. If your application is rejected, it’s recommended to consult an expert and apply again with the aid by an experienced Immigration Lawyer.

It is, for instance, illegal to work in the United States without an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) that is issued by USCIS. It is a document that EAD is a photo ID which resembles the driver’s license. It’s granted to people who qualify under certain categories for example refugees and students.

Visa Application Process

How to obtain working permits and visas differs dependent on the nation which you work in. In general, visas are issued with specific purpose and permits admission into the country only for a certain duration of time.

Visas can be requested from the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting. You’ll need the necessary documentation, including your passport as well as proof of your identity and employment details.

A work visa is a photo identification card which proves that you are legally able to reside in the nation where you are currently living and working. The card is issued by USCIS it looks like the driver’s license. It’s also known in the form of Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Obtaining work permit


Work Permits are required along with visas and restrict what people can undertake while living in a different country. They often require a degree, previous job reports or an expert “testimony” among other requirements.

Visas on the other hand usually limit the type of activity that you can take part in including traveling for the conference or even carrying out business. This also differs by country.

For example, a work visa is essential for someone wanting to become a nurse in Singapore. However, an US firm can be able to sponsor the visa of an employee with any degree, by means of labor Conditions Application (LCA) and Certificate. This is a requirement that the employer establishes that there is no foreign worker working located in the US for this job. This process is more extensive and time-consuming than applying for a visa itself.

Navigating Legal Requirements for Working Abroad

If you’re considering working abroad or you’re already doing that, understanding of the difference between permits and work visas will help you navigate the legal process. It will also assist you to stay clear of misunderstandings or mistakes which could delay or impede the plans you have made.

Obtaining work permit for expatriate usually ties you to an employer and is valid for only while the company employs the employee. It is therefore difficult to move jobs or places if you’re not happy with the position you’re in.

Ogletree Deakins’ Cross-Border Practice Group will keep an eye on the problems that affect individuals and businesses that work internationally, and we’ll post updates on our blog whenever new changes take place. While we wait, we hope this information can help you meet your career objectives.