How to get work permit

work permit

What is a work permit?

A work permit or working paper is a legal document stating that minors (under 18 years old) can be employed. This working paper is in the form of Employment Certificates. The federal government does not require work permits or age certificates for minors to be employed. However, many states do require it for workers of a certain age.

The Department of Labor will issue an age certificate if the state of minors does not issue one, or if the minor is asked by his or her employer to provide one. The purpose of this certificate is to protect the employer from prosecution and penalties for employing minors. School counselors might know if work permits or proof-of-age certificates are required in your state.

How teens get work permit

Employers are required to confirm that you have a permit to work in the U.S. before hiring you. If you do not have U.S. citizenship, you can apply for a green card so you can legally live and work in the United States.

For U.S. citizenship, if you are under 18, then you should ask your school district office whether you need to apply for a work permit before starting a new job. Some states require work permits for those under the age of 16, while others require it for anyone younger than 18. Some states do not require it at all.

You can also ask or apply for work permit through your state department of labor by visiting, calling or emailing the office or searching their website. You need to renew your work permit since it will expire generally after one year.

Do I need a work permit?

Do you need to have a work permit to get a job? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require that teens get work permits /employment certificate to get a job. Some states however do require work permits prior to getting a job.

Alabama Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17) and 18 in mines. To be completed, signed and issued by school. Age certification is not issued.

Alaska Work Permit
Required for minors under 17 (14-16) and 17 if employer licensed to sell alcohol. To be completed by and signed by parent/guardian and employer (proof of age must be given to employer to be kept on file). To be issued by the Labor Department. Age certification is not issued.

Arizona Work Permit
Work permit is not required. Age certification is not issued.

Arkansas Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be completed and signed by parent/guardian, employer and minor with proof of age attached. To be issued by the Labor Department. Age certification is not required, but the State issues the certificate on request for 16 years old.

California Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17) enrolled in school. To be signed by parent/guardian, employer. To be issued by school or Labor Department (if working in entertainment industry). Age certification is not issued.

Colorado Work Permit
Required only for minors under 16 (14-15) working during school hours. To be issued by school. Age certification is not necessary and to be issued by school on request if under 18, except not issued to minors under 16 during school hours.

Connecticut Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be obtained by minors from most local public high schools with the employer’s written promise of employment and the minor’s proof of age. Age certification for 16 and 17 years old is a requirement.

Delaware Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by minor, parent/guardian, employer and school officer or Delaware Department of Labor office. Age certification is not necessary.

District of Columbia Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by school office, parent/guardian, employer and examining physician (if minor under 16 and obtaining Theatrical Permit). Age certification is not necessary.

Florida Work Permit
Work permit or age certificates are not required. However, employers are required to keep on record proof of age/waiver of minors under 18 which should be issued by the district school board. A waiver is not required during the summer session.

Georgia Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). Filled by minors first, then employers completed after given the Minor Security Key (MSK), and issued by designated school superintendent. Age certification is not necessary.

Guam Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15) and issued by the labor department. Age certification is not issued.

Hawaii Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be signed by parent/guardian and employer. Minors 16 and 17 years of age must apply for a Certificate of Age, by presenting an acceptable proof of age document to the Child Labor Office or apply online

Idaho Work Permit
Work permit is not required. Age certification is not issued.

Illinois Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be completed and submitted by school superintendent and issued by Illinois Department of Labor. Age of certification is required for 16-20 years old and to be issued by schools.

Indiana Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be issued by accredited schools. Age of certificate is required for 18 to 21 and to be issued by school.

Iowa Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be signed by minor, parent/guardian and employers and to be issued by Iowa Division of Labor. Age of certificate is not required for 16 years old and under but to be issued by the State or schools.

Kansas Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15) and not enrolled in secondary school. Age of certification is not issued.

Kentucky Work Permit
Work permit is not issued but proof of age is required for minors under 18 (14-17) and to be issued by schools.

Louisiana Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by parent/guardian and employer and sent to an authorized issuing location. The authorized official will then issue an Employment Certificate. Age of certification is not necessary.

Maine Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15). To be signed by school and parent/guardian and issued by the Labor Department. Age of certification is not necessary.

Maryland Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by minor, parent/legal guardian, and employer. Age of certification is not necessary, but schools and the state may issue the certificate on request.

Massachusetts Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by minor, parent/guardian, employer and also Physician (only for 14-15 years old). Age of certification is required for minors under 18 and to be issued by schools.

Michigan Work Permit
Required for minors under 18 (14-17). To be signed by minor, parent/guardian, employer and to be issued by school. Age of certification is required for minors under 18.

Minnesota Work Permit
Only required for minors under 16 working during school hours. To be issued by schools. Age certificates are not required. However, employers of any minor must obtain and keep on record proof of the child’s age.

Mississippi Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 in mills, canneries, workshops, factories. To be issued by schools. Age of certification is not issued.

Missouri Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 (14-15) and to be issued by schools. Age of certification is not necessary but to be issued by schools on request.

Montana Work Permit
No certificate is required at any age in nonhazardous employment. Age of certification is required for minors 16 and over in hazardous occupations, but not necessary in other occupations. To be issued by the state Labor Department.

Nebraska Work Permit
Required for minors Under 16 (14-15). To be issued by school together with age of certification for 16 and over on request.

Nevada Work Permit
Work certificates are only issued to minors under the age of 14 with the written permission of the district judge.

New Hampshire Work Permit
Employment certificate is required for teenagers 12 to 15 years old and to be completed by their parent or the school. Written permission by the parent or guardian is required for 16 or 17 year old and to be filed at the work place by the employers.

New Jersey Work Permit
All minors under the age of 18 who work in New Jersey must have a work permit, this employment certificate is to be issued by local school district where the minor resides. Age certificate is required for young workers 18 to 21 years old and to be issued by the local school district.

New Mexico Work Permit
Work permit is required if you are under 16 and can be obtained at the school you are attending or from the Superintendent’s office of the school district in which you reside, or from the New Mexico Department labor department. Age 16 and 17 might need age certificate if requested by the employers.

New York Work Permit
Required for minors 14 to 17 years old, obtained from the school, except child performers need approval from the Department of Labor. Blue working papers is for 14-15 years old, not allowing them to work in a factory. While 16-17 years old get green working papers (in school) or peach (our of school). Age certificate is not required for ages 18 and over but can be obtained at school if requested.

North Carolina Work Permit
Work permit is required for minors under 18, issued by the Department of Labor. There is no provision about age certificate.

North Dakota Work Permit
Required for minors under 16 and to be issued by the Department of Labor. Age certification for ages 16 and over is not required but the State issues the certificate on request.

Ohio Work Permit
Employment certificate is required for minors under 16, and is also required for 16 and 17 years old during schoool term. This work permit can obtained at school. Age certificates are not issued, but proof of age is required for minors 16 and 17 years of age for employment during school vacation.

Oklahoma Work Permit
Both work permit and age certificate are required for minors under 16 and can be obtained at school.

Oregon Work Permit
Minors age 14–17 are not required to obtain work permits. Instead, employers are required to apply for annual certificates to employ these minors. There is no provision about age certificate.

Pennsylvania Work Permit
The Pennsylvania Child Labor Act requires all minors, which is any person under age 18, to obtain a work permit from the school district in which they reside. There is no provision about age certificate.

Puerto Rico Work Permit
Work permit is required for minors under 18 and to be issued by the Department of Labor. Age certificate is not required but can be issued by the Department of Labor on request.

Rhode Island Work Permit
If you are 14-15 and want to work in Rhode Island, you must obtain a work permit. If you are 16-17, you need age certificate. School Department will issue you either work permit or age certificate.

South Carolina Work Permit
Work permit and age certification are not required.

South Dakota Work Permit
Work permit and age certification are not issued.

Tennessee Work Permit
No certificates are issued. However, employers of minors under age 18 must obtain and keep on file proof of the minor’s age.

Texas Work Permit
Work permit is not required but age certificate can be issued for minors under 18 by the Department of Labor on request.

Utah Work Permit
Work permit is not required but age certificate can be issued for minors under 18 by the school Department.

Vermont Work Permit
Work permit is required for minor under 16 years of age and employed during school hours. This employment certificate can be obatained at the Department of Labor. Age certificate is not issued but employers are strongly encouraged to maintain a copy of proof of age for all minors under the age of 18.

Virgin Islands Work Permit
Employment certificate must be obtained from the Department of Labor for minors under 18 but older than 13. There is no provision about age certificate.

Virginia Work Permit
Minors under the age of 16 must obtain an employment certificate prior to their first day of employment and also age certificate. Both certificates can be obtained from the Department of Labor.

Washington Work Permit
Work permit is required for minors under 18 and to be issued by the Department of Labor. There is no provision about age certificate.

West Virginia Work Permit
Work permit is required for minors under 16. Age certificate is only required by law when related to junior volunteer firefighting activities but may be required by employers as proof of age for 16 and 17 years of age. Both certificates are available from both the County Boards of Education and at the Division of Labor website www.labor.wv.gov.

Wisconsin Work Permit
A work permit is required before minors under the age of 16. Age certificate is usually required for minors 18 years of age and above. Both certificates can be obtained form work permit offices.

Wyoming Work Permit
Work permit is not issued but employers of minors under age 16 must maintain a proof of age.

Other documents you may need

  • Proof of age: copy of birth certificate, a school record, school identification, driver’s license, or another document that lists your age
  • Social security number