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Work in the U.S.

Apply to work in the U.S., run your business or to receive EI benefits while your family member is posted outside of Canada. Family members and spouses of military members over 16 are eligible to work in the United States. It’s mandatory to acquire work documentation, even if you’re self-employed or intend to collect Employment Insurance. 

Canadian military spouses and family members over 16 are legally eligible to work in the United States. 

To work in the U.S., even if you’re self-employed or planning to apply for Canadian Employment Insurance (EI), you need the following:

  • U.S. visa
  • I-94 arrival/departure record 
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).

Check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Website for updated forms and instructions.

Note: You will require proof of work eligibility documentation If you intend to apply for Employment Insurance (EI).

  • Step 1 - Update all Canadian ID and apply for a U.S. visa
    Ensure your driver’s licence and social insurance number are updated. Apply for a U.S. Visa. You need these documents to apply for U.S. work documentation.

    Note: If you have a specific profession in the medical, education, or legal fields, verify state requirements for licensing and certifications prior to moving.
  • Step 2 - Form I-94: Get it upon arrival in U.S.
    The Form I-94 is the Department of Homeland Security arrival/departure electronic document issued to foreigners admitted to the United States at air and sea ports of entry. It allows for an extended stay in the country for non-immigrant visitors. You will need this number to apply for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

    Already have an I-94? Retrieve your electronic document.
  • Step 3 - Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Apply once settled in the U.S.
    Once you arrive in the U.S. and receive your I-94, contact the Protocol Coordinator to start the application for your EAD. You need the EAD to apply for a Social Security Number to work or obtain a driver’s license, or to collect Employment Insurance. 

    Submit forms and accompanying documentation to the Sponsoring Canadian Command Clerk in your location. If you don’t have a clerk, submit your CAF Support unit representative is for either CDLS(W) or CFSU(CS).  They will review, endorse, and forward to the Office of the Legal Advisor who will then submit to Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Expect to receive your EAD card at your US home address within 8-to-16 weeks. 
    There is no cost for NATO family members, providing you go through your EAD Point of Contact.
  • Step 4 - Social Security Number (SSN): Obtain this to work or get a driver’s license
    Visit your Social Security Office with paperwork, including your I-94, your EAD and Canadian Identification documents. U.S. employers use your SSN to document your taxes. 
  • Step 5 - Renew your EAD, as required
    If your partner or family member is posted for longer than three years, or if you are returning to the U.S. for a subsequent posting, you may need to renew your EAD. 

    To apply for a renewal, you need updated U.S. tax documents.

Apply for Employment Insurance (EI)