Job Interview Question & Answer: Are You Eligible to Work in the USA?
Why Employers Ask
There are certain requirements you must meet to work for a company that may extend beyond education and work experience. When employers ask if you’re authorized to work in the US, they want to know about work permits, citizenship information, or if you have a criminal record that prohibits you from applying to a specific job.
Answer Honestly and Appropriately
Be honest when answering interview questions about your work authorization. Confirm that you are over 18 if the interviewer asks and it’s relevant to the position. International students or immigrants with work permits or visas should tell employers they can verify their ability to work in the US.
Never Lie about Your Legal Status to Work
Don’t lie about your age, citizenship, whether you have a criminal record, or anything else that could make you ineligible for the job. If the employer discovers you were deceitful, it could lead to negative consequences beyond termination, such as paying fines, jail time, or deportation.
Tips for Answering “Are You Legally Authorized to Work in The United States?”
If a hiring manager asks, “Are you eligible to work in the United States?” and you are a citizen over the age of 16 or 18 with a clean record, then usually you would simply say, “Yes.” However, some applicants may need sponsorship for a work visa and aren’t sure how to answer the question. Whatever your situation, here are some tips to help you with this common interview question:
- Before applying, check the age requirement of the company or, if it applies to you, whether they hire people with a felony charge on their record.
- If not permitted to work in the US, include a well-written cover letter with your resume and application that states you would like to obtain authorization to work in the country.
- Ask ahead of time if the employer is willing to hire candidates looking for sponsors for a work visa.
- When discussing legal matters that involve criminal activity, do not reveal details from the case, but take responsibility and let your response end on a positive note focused on personal growth.
- Remain calm and show confidence while discussing your legal status. Otherwise, the employer might assume you are lying.
Sample Responses to “Are You Eligible to Work in the USA?”
When applying for a job, an interviewer will likely ask, “Are you authorized to work in the United States?” If you feel there are any related reasons the employer may question hiring you, such as citizenship status or legal record, prepare for this question ahead of time. Reading samples like the following can help you build your own responses.
Sample Answer 1 – Crew Member at a Fast-Food Restaurant
“Yes, I am allowed to work in the United States. I have my work permit from my high school and am on track to graduate next May. I also plan to attend the local community college next fall.”
Sample Answer 2 – Clerk at a Book Store
“I am eligible to work in the United States through my student work visa on the college campus. I am a student on campus studying to get my bachelor’s degree in journalism.”
Adding to Your Response
After an interviewer asks, “Are you eligible to work in the United States?” and you tell them yes or no, you can add to your response with a short explanation. This can include the following reasons:
- You seek sponsorship for a work visa and have a special interest in the particular company and field.
- You have a specific type of authorization, such as a student visa or a work permit from your high school.
- You graduate high school or college soon, which usually hints at a relative age range without disclosing an exact number.
These short explanations make your responses a little longer, helping to show the employer how much you want the job. By being honest and proving to them you are an individual who is willing to make big leaps to achieve your professional dreams, the employer will see you as ambitious and a good candidate for the position.