The United States has bilateral work agreements with over 100 countries and de facto arrangements with over 30 additional countries. On the basis of these agreements and arrangements, certain dependents of certain foreign government employees may be authorized to work on the local economy in the United States. OFM reviews and recommends such authorizations. These authorizations are often referred to as work permits or EADs (employment authorization documents).
In the case of both formal bilateral agreements and de facto reciprocity, the foreign state must afford official U.S. family members a reasonable opportunity to seek employment on the local economy of that state. OFM monitors the success of bilateral work agreements and the status of de facto work arrangements for dependents of U.S diplomats abroad.
OFM reviews dependent work authorization requests from foreign missions and forwards endorsed applications for processing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency that issues the actual EAD card. Processing time from application to receipt of the EAD card averages from 6-10 weeks.
OFM processes applications from eligible dependents of A, G, and NATO visa holders. OFM does not process application for dependents at the United Nations (UN) or Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN Mission).
Dependents of foreign mission members who are authorized to work in the United States, have obtained employment for an entity other than a foreign government or international organization, and are covered under the U.S. Social Security system are required to have Social Security numbers. Such individuals will be liable for Social Security taxes through their employment.
Dependents who have not obtained work authorization and do not plan to work for an entity other than a foreign government or international organization can visit an office of the Social Security Administration and request a denial letter (SSA-L676), which states that the individual is not eligible for a Social Security number.
Effective January 2017, the process for work authorization requests from NATO dependents has changed.
An applicant who is a dependent of a NATO official stationed outside of NATO/HQ SACT will submit Form I-765 with Form I-566 and other required documents to the embassy’s contact for NATO applicants.
Applicants submit requests to their embassy contact, and not to OFM.
Not all NATO visa holders are eligible. Refer to the embassy contacts list to see which countries have a Bilateral Work Agreement or de facto arrangement that includes dependents of NATO visa holders.
Processing by the Embassy or Designated Defense Liaison Office
Upon receipt of a work authorization request from a NATO dependent, the embassy or its designated defense liaison office certifies Section 8 of Form I-566 and adds the PID numbers in Parts 1 and 2 of Form I-566. The certifying office also provides a Command Verification Letter with each application. Certified application packages may be hand delivered or mailed to the OFM Customer Service Center.
For questions, send an email to OFM-EAD@state.gov