Under the Immigration National Act (INA), an applicant will be barred from adjusting status if the applicant continues, accepts, engages, or has previously engaged in unauthorized employment prior to filing an application for an adjustment of status. INA 254(c)(2). This bar applies to all unauthorized work during the applicant’s most recent entry and all prior entries into the United States.
Unauthorized employment is ANY service or labor performed for ANY employer in the United States by a noncitizen who has not received authorization from the INA or USCIS to accept or engage in employment.
BIGGEST MYTHS ABOUT UNAUTHORIZED WORK
TAXES: It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t pay taxes, if you did work without authorization, then its unauthorized work and will be counted as such. Even if the IRS doesn’t report it to USCIS, it is still unauthorized work.
LAWYERS OR CONSULTANTS CAN HIDE THE INFORMATION: Attorneys, law firms, and those filing or assisting in filing of any documents before the United States government are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to report any unauthorized work on U.S. government forms. Attorneys, law firms, and others can have penalties up to, and including, prison for not reporting your unauthorized work. There is NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE in this situation.
PAID IN CASH: It doesn’t matter if you were paid solely in cash. Unauthorized work must and will be reported by BDV Solutions and our partner law firms.
VOLUNTEERING: While you are permitted to volunteer, it is generally not allowed that you can volunteer in a position that should be filled by a paid worker.
INVESTMENTS: While foreign nationals are allowed to make financial investments to generate capital (such as in stocks or bonds) and engage in passive investments, they are NOT permitted to play an active role in the day to day running of a business or active Forex trading.